In the spring of 1786, feisty young composer of considerable reputation is on the verge of getting his revolutionary operatic masterwork produced at the Court Theater in Vienna. Everything seems to be working in his favor: the libretto is brilliant, the cast is stellar; the Minister of Education, the General Manager of the theater and the Emperor himself have all given their endorsement to the work. So, what could possibly go wrong?
Jealous rivals abound. Ultra-conservative nobles find the piece politically dangerous. Tin-eared civil servants think the opera is too long and threaten to cut the finales. And– on the production’s first day onstage– there’s a hanged man dangling above the stage!
I have been researching and writing this book for several years now. I’m using my own backstage experiences, the memoirs and other writings of the actual people who appear in the story, as well as some excellent histories of this marvelous period of musical and political history. I am on my anti-penultimate draft, trying to get the time-lines right and making sure that nobody knows what they are not supposed to know when they are not supposed to know it, and that the reveals of the finale are a surprise to everybody, including you!
The book is pretty racy, and although I am fond of almost all the opera singers I ever worked with, this story does not show operatic divas and divos in a flattering light. There is also some harsh anti-Semitic talk in the book, which reflects the attitudes of the period: the city tolerated its Jews, and the Jewish community prospered under the benignity of the Emperor, but in fact the Jews had no civil rights at all.
I’m hoping to get this book out within the next year or so, so stay tuned. I am hoping to include some musical audio in the e-book version, wouldn’t that be a kick?
So, do you know the composer and the work of which I write? Send me a note if you do!
Check out my first book “Sam (a pastoral)” a story of love, hate, revenge and forgiveness, in the meantime.