top of page


By Ron David

Illustrations By Sara Woolley


Music History/ Opera

ISBN-13: 978-1-934389-79-9
Price: US $16.99
eBook ISBN: 9781934389805
eBook Price: US $16.99
November 26, 2013


B/W Illustrations

The History of Opera For Beginners is an illuminating book that starts with the radical assumption that opera is simply music, rather than the highbrow, inaccessible art form that many assume it to be. Not fluent in German or Italian? No worries—author Ron David explains the differences between Italian and German Opera and why you don’t have to study a new language to enjoy it.

The History of Opera For Beginners is the ideal introduction into the beautiful poetics of opera. Written in short, humorous, and informative chapters, this guide is laced with some of the opera world’s juiciest anecdotes, and is sure to make anyone a true believer in the art form.


Ron David grew up in Detroit, attended Wayne State University and the Detroit Society of Arts & Crafts and served three years in the Army.  For years he earned his living as an industrial clay sculptor (Detroit, New York, California and Sweden) and spent 20-30 hours per week writing books.  Ron was awarded a Grant from the New Jersey Council on the Arts for one of his novels.  He also spent four years as Editor-in-Chief at Writers and Readers Publishing.  He is the author of four published books including Toni Morrison Explained: A Reader’s Road Map to the Novels (Random House).

Ron David has been married to Susan David (an artist/designer at Tiffany & Co.) for 30 years.


Sara Woolley is a visual artist and award-winning illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been twice recognized by the New York Society of Illustrators, The Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and most recently by 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration.  She has worked on a variety of projects ranging from illustration for publishers and institutions, and concept art for film, to innovative costumes and props for theatrical performance.  Clients include Scholastic, Greenpoint Press, and Gorgeous Entertainment among others. Her ongoing personal project, a graphic novel entitled, Los Pirineos the Mostly True Memoirs of Esperancita Gómez, was singled out for award by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture.


Opera News
A publication of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. 

Opera Now
"Provides a unique and all-encompassing perspective on the
international opera scene through it's lively and colourful mix of
news, reviews, interviews, travel articles, and commentary." 

The Opera Critic
The world's leading gateway and information resource for opera on the Internet
• Over 32,000 opera reviews in a range of languages
• Over 10,000 news-related items and articles
• CD & DVD reviews 
• Schedule & casting information for over 300 opera companies
• Over 20,000 production photos from around the world
• News, reviews, & headlines are updated daily  

Opera Today
Opera news, commentary, and reviews from around the world.

San Diego Opera Podcasts
• Not limited to San Diego
• 15-20 Minute conversations with opera people from all over the world
• Reviews, interviews, news, and more 

San Francisco Opera
A great, super-informative website for 
beginners & seasoned opera lovers alike. 

Opera Cast
A guide to opera broadcasts on the Internet, PLUS help
for those of us who lack the skills to take full advantage 
of Internet radio & video broadcasts. 

Opera Arts
 "From incredible original opera posters that jump out at you - to opera art
opera tee-shirts, singers, conductors, composers, and all things opera, 
(including some great performances), you'll find it here."
A list of one-click websites that offer
full operas or selections from opera.

Parterre Box - La Cieca
This website is not for everybody
but if you like it, you'll LOVE it! 

The Great Courses: Operas of Mozart

The Bel Canto Society
Stefan Zucker

Sign up for the newsletter
Stefan Zucker Bio

Metropolitan Opera Saturday 
Afternoon Opera Broadcasts


Opera News
The Metropolitan Opera Guild. New York

Opera Quarterly
Duke University Press. Durham, North Carolina

Opera Fanatic
The Magazine for Lovers of Expressive Singing.
Bel Canto Society. New York 


Popular Singers Often Record Opera Arias
• Della Reese's hit, "Don't You Know" is Musetta's Waltz from Puccini's La Boheme
• Jackie Wilson's big recording of "Night" is Delilah's aria from Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah
• 50s crooner Tony Martin sings Prologue from Pagliacci
• Tony Williams - The Platters - "My Prayer" 


Whitney Houston's 1991 signing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" 
It is considered by many to be the best version of the U.S. national anthem every recorded. It became a top-ten best seller (twice) and was among Houston's best selling recordings.

Pavarotti - The Italian Singer's Aria 
("Di rigore armato il seno" from Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier)


Other Fantastic Opera Videos

Bjorling & Tebaldi - "O soave fanciulla..." from Puccini's La Boheme
Jessye Norman - Didos' Lament - "When I am laid in earth..." Purcell's Dido & Aeneas
Janet Baker - Dido's Lament - "When I am laid in earth..." Purcell's Dido & Aeneas 
Jeff Buckley - Dido's Lament - "When I am laid in earth..." Purcell's Dido & Aeneas 
The Shawshank Redemption - Mozart - "Sull'aria" from "The Marriage of Figaro" sung by Gundula Janowitz
& Edith Mathis
Anna Moffo - "D'amor sull'ali rosee" from Verdi's Il Trovatore
Billie Holiday - "I'm a fool to want you..." 
Maria Callas - "Qui la voce sua soave" from Bellini's I Puritani
Billie Holiday - "Gloomy Sunday"
Maria Calla - "Suicidio!" from Pnchielli's La Gioconda
Kiri Te Kanawa - Marietta's Lied - Korngold - Die Tote Stadt
Caruso - Journey - Alda
Rethberg - Gigli - Pinza - "Qual volutta transcorrere" - Verdi's I Lombardi
Gigli - Nadir's aria - Bizet's Pearlfishers
Smokey Robinson - "Ooh baby baby..."
Aretha Franklin - "Nessun dorma"
Mahalia Jackson - "Abide with Me"
Jussi Bjorling - "Amor ti vieta..." from Fedora by Giordano
Andrea Bocelli - Il mare calmo della sera 


* If any of the videos do not work or have been removed, please notify us via email at

Thank you and enjoy!

Anchor 1
bottom of page