Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

Read expert-written show guides with context, plot, characters and video examples.

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Carmen

Famous for its use of Spanish dances, such as the and , Carmen has some of the most well-known music of the operatic canon.When the seductive Spanish gypsy, Carmen, shows an interest in Don José, he initially dismisses it, intending to honor his promise to the village girl Micaëla. There is some... read more

Antony and Cleopatra

One of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra, tells the tale of Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, and Cleopatra, the infamous Queen of Egypt. After living the life of luxury in Egypt, Antony is compelled to return to Rome when the empire is threaten... read more

Richard III

To what lengths will one man go to be king? Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, has his eye on the throne of England and desires all of the power it entails. However, his brother Edward is king, and there are several people--including his young nephew--in line for the monarchy before Richard can eve... read more

Agamemnon

Agamemnon, the king of Argos, is returning victorious from the Trojan War. He expects a glorious homecoming, and the people--especially his wife Clytemnestra--are relieved that he is home. However, Clytemnestra is holding murderous vengeance in her heart. Before Agamemnon left for Troy, he sacrif... read more

The Changeling

One of the finest examples of Jacobean tragedy, The Changeling explores honor and madness through its dual plots, one set in the world of nobility, and the other in a local asylum. But which is the real madhouse? Young Beatrice is in love with a visiting nobleman, Alsemero. However, her father ha... read more

Tis Pity She's a Whore

A brother and sister and their forbidden love - this is the premise of John Ford’s dark revenge tragedy ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Young Parman nobleman Giovanni is desperately in love with his sister Annabella, and is overjoyed when she reciprocates his feelings. But they know that their incestuou... read more

Dialogues des Carmélites

Set in the French Revolution, between the years 1789 and 1794, Poulenc’s tragic opera Dialogues des Carmélites tells the horrifying story of the martyring of the entire Carmélite order. Blanche, the daughter of the Chevalier de la Force, has had a tremendous fright, when she was caught up in a st... read more

Dido and Aeneas

Based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, Dido and Aeneas is Purcell’s only true opera, and his first composition which was written to be sung throughout. Having its first performance at the Josias Priest’s Boarding School for Girls in 1687, it is the perfect opera for student casts, as many of the vo... read more

Don Carlos

Verdi’s grand opera Don Carlos is a story of love and devotion conflicting with political and religious upheaval. Lost on a hunting expedition, Elisabeth de Valois runs into the young Prince of Spain, Don Carlos. They immediately fall in love, and are delighted to find out that they are actually... read more

Il tabarro

Il tabarro is the first opera in Puccini’s Il trittico, which also comprises of and . The story is set on a barge on the river Seine in Paris and the music is continually intertwined with the atmosphere of a hot Paris evening, created by the organ-grinder, and a song vendor whose songs, particu... read more