You can use our reading lists to find the best books on operas and classical music books ever written on a variety of subjects.
We also have a number of opera singers recommending the best opera books, and composers picking the best biographies of classical composers.
Beethoven: Impressions by his Contemporaries
by Oscar Sonneck (Editor)
Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life
by Ruth Padel
Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet
by Edward Dusinberre
Beethoven: The Man Revealed
by John Suchet
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph
by Jan Swafford
Nearly everyone knows the photo of Verdi’s funeral, the streets of Milan packed with people paying homage to the great composer. How did the son of an innkeeper from Le Roncole become not only one of the most famous opera composers of all time but also a prominent symbol of Italy’s Risorgimento? Verdi expert Francesco Izzo discusses the books to read to best understand the man, the myths, and the music.
Richard Wagner’s works are as immense as they are influential: the four-part, 15-hour saga Der Ring des Nibelungen is the most analysed opera of all time. And yet, Wagner was arrogant and virulently anti-semitic. Can we separate the musical genius from the man? Opera critic Michael Tanner recommends the best books on Wagner.
From Bach to Stravinsky, British composer Giles Swayne discusses the most insightful books for getting to know the real lives of classical composers. “You can have people who are really extremely mediocre with huge careers, and people who are wonderfully good but don’t have wonderful careers. Bach was one of those.”