This is a reading project in the making! And you can really take it in a few different directions, too. A number of years ago I started subscribing to each new season of Broadway show offerings. I would just purchase the whole package (usually five or so shows during theater season which seems to run September through June) and I would see the odd opera as well. Then I decided it was worth subscribing to each new Opera Omaha season as well since the package price is always such a bargain. Generally there are three operas here each season but next season there will be four (not counting The Met: Live in HD performances held at local cinemas which I have yet to try). Now you know how it goes. Once you subscribe to your local performing arts everyone wants you to join in. I thoroughly enjoy supporting the arts (and in the current political climate I think it is as important as ever!) since there is really so much cross over between the arts and literature (as you will see below). I have decided this year to add some Omaha Symphony performances to the line up as well. They offer a whole range of choices but their Masterworks offerings were what tempted me in the end. I suspect I will add a few dance performances into the mix as well.
Opera Omaha was first up to announce their season and I am really excited about the upcoming performances. I will be season Tosca, Falstaff, Medea and Proving Up. I was thinking I should really read along. In the past I have tried to read something of each opera before I attend performances as I am very much an opera novice. I know next to nothing about opera really (though whenever Opera Omaha does community outreach (and on a few occasions now I have been able to go back stage and see it all from the performer's perspectives), so seeing and reading more about each opera just broadens my horizons a tiny bit more.
Tosca is a Puccini opera is based on a French play by Victorien Sardou from 1887. I know I can read the libretto that Puccini based his opera on and the Sardou play if I can find it. Falstaff is an opera by Verdi based on a libretto which is adapted from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and a few scenes from Henry IV. Now I know I can have some fun with Medea and I am already thinking about that one! Of course Medea is a myth from the Greeks, which I have read ages ago. The opera is by Luigi Cherubini based on Euripdes' tragedy and Pierre Corneille's play Médée. There are all kinds of retellings of this myth and I could make a whole project out it alone! I think I will read a recent find, however, David Vann's recently published novel Bright Air Black. I am thinking that maybe opera/Medea should be my summer reading project (I have been toying with a number of themes not quite settling on one--because of course they all sound tempting). Proving Up is a modern opera based on a short story by Karen Russell (will be find that one for sure). It is tied in with the One Festival coming to Omaha in 2018--which "spans two weeks that blend music, theater, visual art, dance, and film". Proving Up is set in Post-Civil War Nebraska, so it has added ties locally. It should be a really exciting opera season as Opera Omaha is celebrating their 60th Anniversary. I suspect you'll be hearing much more from me about opera in the coming months.
As for Broadway the lineup is a fun one as well: Finding Neverland, Disney's Little Mermaid, Waitress, Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I and An American in Paris. I am especially looking forward to the last two. I can add on Wicked, too, but I have not yet decided. Have you seen it? Should I go? I once tried to read the book, Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, but for some reason I didn't get on with it. Of course that was literally years ago and I might give it another go if I decide to see the musical.
So, if I did extracurricular reading, there would be Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Little Mermaid, Margaret Landon's Anna and the King of Siam, and L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. I'm sure if I dig around a little there are retellings and reimaginings of some of the stories as well.
I think my biggest showgoing bargain was the symphony package I got, which is eight performances at a very economical price (and as I am an early subscriber my seat was half price). I am going to do the MasterWorks series which includes Mahler's Ninth, Dvorak's 7th Symphony, Rachmaninoff & Tchaikovsky, Appalachian Spring & West Side Story, Beethoven & Mozart, Bernstein & Mahler's 4th Symphony, The Planets (Bach, Berg and Holst), and Beethoven's 9th Symphony. I don't know a lot about opera, but I knew even less about classical music, so this will certainly be an education. I'm not sure what I might choose for 'reading along' but I bet I can get creative.
So much culture! It seems to go hand in hand with reading--for me anyway. As always any reading suggestions are very welcome to enhance the experience.