The "play within the play?" - consider the genre of the "opera within the novel." As opera has inspired other forms and imitations of its musically dramatic nature, so has opera stimulated the novelist to render opera itself as a background setting for plots and dramatic situations equal to, or surpassing, those of the famous operatic librettists.  There is often the round-up of the "usual (operatic stereotypes) suspects," while the forms of mayhem, trickery and deceit rule the action.   The Durbeck Archive, with the intention of observing the widest probable parameters of operatic influence in the world of arts and letters, has made an extended effort to obtain as many of these operatically inspired novels as possible.  With these novels as another aspect of the multi-layered spheres of operatic influence, the Archive offers a continuing expansion of perspective of opera as a universal art, in all of its many facets.  These are some of the operatic novels and works of opera-based fiction in The Durbeck Archive.

Barbara Paul

Prima Donna at Large

New York:

New American Library,

Signet Books

251 pages, PB

© 1985

Gladys Swarthout

Come Soon, Tomorrow!

New York:

Dodd, Mead & Co.

278 pages, HB, DJ

© 1944

autographed by

Gladys Swarthout

Helen Traubel

The Metropolitan Opera Murders

New York:

Simon and Schuster

192 pages, HB, DJ

© 1951

Mary Deasy

Ella Gunning


Little, Brown and Co.

316 pages, HB, DJ

© 1950

Joseph Machlis

The Career of Magda V.

New York:

W.W. Norton & Co.

313 pages, HB, DJ

© 1985

Carol Kane


New York:


487 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 1990

Conrad L. Osborne

O Paradiso

New York:

Arbor House, Morrow

349 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 1988

Lotte Lehmann

Eternal Flight

trans: Elsa Krauch

New York:

G.B. Putnam's Sons

265 pages, HB, DJ

© 1937

Robert Merrill 
and Fred Jarvis

The Divas

New York:

Simon and Schuster

414 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 1978

autographed by 

Robert Merrill

Thomas Godfrey, ed.

Murder at the Opera

New York:

The Mysterious Press

250 pages, HB, DJ

© 1989

This is an anthology of opera murder mysteries  by:
Albert Herring
Agatha Christie
O. Henry 
James Yaffe 
A.E.W. Mason 
Hector Berlioz 
Rex Stout 
Vincent Starrett 
Baynard Kendrick 
Helen Traubel
Edward  D. Hoch

Fred G. Jarvis

Murder at the Met

New York:

Coward-McCann Inc.

237 pages, HB, DJ

© 1971

Brown Meggs



Hamish-Hamilton Ltd.

466 pages, HB, DJ

© 1978

Lilian Lauferty


Garden City:

Doubleday & Co.

276 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 1948

inscribed and

autographed by 

Lilian Lauferty

James McCourt

Mawrdew Czgowchwz

New York:

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

230 pages, HB, DJ

© 1971, 1973, 1975

Anne Rice

Cry To Heaven

New York:

Alfred A. Knopf

534 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 1982

autographed by

Anne Rice

Phil Georgeff

The Man Who Loved 
Mario Lanza

Private  Printing

182 pages, PB

© 1997

Gustav Kobbé

Signora: A Child of the
Opera House

New York:

R. H. Russell

205 pages, HB, no DJ

First Edition, © 1902

Martin Mayer

A Voice That Fills The House

New York:

Simon and Schuster

249 pages, HB, DJ, 
First Edition, © 1959

Ann Patchett

Bel Canto

New York: Perrenial

HarperCollins Publishers 

318 pages, PB

© 2001

Barbara Paul

A Cadenza for Caruso

New York:

St. Martin's Press

146 pages, HB, DJ, 
First Edition, © 1984

Willa Cather

The Song of the Lark


Houghton Mifflin Company

490 pages, HB, no DJ

© 1932

Lawrence Louis Goldman

The Castrato

New York:

The John Day Company

264 pages, HB, DJ, 
First Edition, © 1973

Susanne Dunlap

Émilie's Voice

New York:

Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

304 pages, Paperback

© 2005

MacDonald Harris


New York:


431 pages, HB, DJ, 
First Edition, © 1981

Richard Powers

The Time of our Singing

New York:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

631 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 2003

Jacqueline DeJohn

Antonio's Wife

New York:


434 pages, PB
First PB Edition, © 2004

Carol Dines

The Queen's Soprano

New York:

Harcourt, Inc.

318 pages, HB, DJ

First Edition, © 2006

Dan Billany

The Opera House Murders

Portway, Bath:

Cedric Chivers, Ltd.

323 pages, hardcover
© 1940

Alison York

No Sad Song

New York:

Harlequin Enterprises

187 pages, pb, © 1987


Tom Holt

Expecting Someone Taller

New York:

Ace Books

231 pages, paperback
© 1990
Note: A comic variation of Wagner's Ring Cycle


Jack Vance

Space Opera

New York:

Daw Books, Inc.

168 pages, paperback

© 1965

Paul Myers

Deadly Aria

New York:

Vanguard Press, Inc.

272 pages, hardcover
© 1987


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