The Metropolitan Opera Presents:

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro


Today Mozart’s exquisite Le Nozze di Figaro delights and moves audiences everywhere, long after its 1786 birth into tumultuous times. The original Beaumarchais play raised a firestorm in France, then on the brink of revolution, with its dangerous commentary on class relations. However, Lorenzo Da Ponte carefully omitted anything political from his opera libretto; what remained, when joined with Mozart’s sublime and penetrating music, was a witty yet profound tale of infatuation, heartache, scheming, and tenderness, where complex emotions are laid bare and everyone, regardless of class, is equally vulnerable to the powers of love.

The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (September 2014, $18.99) is the latest in the Metropolitan Opera Presents Libretto Library Series by Amadeus Press. In this groundbreaking series, classic and well-known operas are presented in a fresh new package. Each book features the complete libretto; color image inserts from Met Opera productions, a Met Opera libretto “In Focus” feature; and official Met Opera program notes. All titles include introductions and forewords by renowned opera experts.

Figaro continues the story of The Barber of Seville several years later, in a single “day of madness.” Count Almaviva’s love, Rosina, is now his long-suffering countess, and the barber Figaro, now the count’s valet, is about to marry Susanna, the countess’s maid. But the couple-to-be must first deal with two obstacles: a demand that Figaro pay his debt to an older woman or marry her instead, and the count’s determination to bed Susanna on her wedding night.

Suspicions fly, plots are hatched, narrow escapes abound, and connivers receive their due. Love and forgiveness finally bring order to the craziness, and a day filled with torment and worry ends in joy.

September 2, 2014
Paperback Original
6” x 9”
284 pages
Amadeus Press is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

Mozart’s Così fan tutte is the fourth title in Amadeus Press’s Metropolitan Opera Presents Libretto Series, following Puccini’s Tosca, Puccini’s La Boheme, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte. The next announced books in the series will accompany this season’s Live in HD debuts of Carmen, and Cavalerria Rusticana/Pagliacci.


The Metropolitan Opera Presents:

Georges Bizet’s Carmen


A riveting story of fatal attraction between a beguiling, strong-willed gypsy and the naïve but passionate soldier who falls under her spell, Georges Bizet’s Carmen pulses with seduction, obsession, and deadly betrayal. It was reviled at its Paris premiere, where its realism and perceived amorality proved shocking, but it became one of the most popular and highly regarded operas of all time. Arguably the greatest musical product of France’s enduring fascination with Spain, Carmen features many numbers that are now almost universally familiar, including the seductive Habanera and the boastful but infectious Toreador Song.

The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Georges Bizet’s Carmen (September 2014, $18.99) is the latest in the Metropolitan Opera Presents Libretto Library Series by Amadeus Press. In this groundbreaking series, classic and well-known operas are presented in a fresh new package. Each book features the complete libretto; color image inserts from Met Opera productions, a Met Opera libretto “In Focus” feature; and official Met Opera program notes. All titles include introductions and forewords by renowned opera experts.

Don José is an idealistic young corporal in 1820s Seville when he encounters the gypsy Carmen, who is irresistible to all men, except, seemingly, José, who loves the innocent country girl Micaëla. But soon enough Carmen works her wiles on him to escape imprisonment, and a later twist of ever-looming fate forces him to completely abandon the world he knows and follow Carmen into a life of crime. When the bullfighter Escamillo wins Carmen’s affections, Don José’s explosive jealousy clashes with Carmen’s resolve to remain true to herself, leading to one of opera’s fiercest confrontations and most unforgettable conclusions.

September 16, 2014
Paperback Original
6” x 9”
168 pages

Amadeus Press is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

Georges Bizet’s Carmen is the fifth title in Amadeus Press’s Metropolitan Opera Presents Libretto Series, following Puccini’s Tosca, Puccini’s La Boheme, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. The next book in the series will accompany this season’s Live in HD debut of Cavalerria Rusticana/Pagliacci in early 2015.


Unlocking the Masters

Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works

by Victor Lederer


Giuseppe Verdi’s career forms one of the loveliest arcs in musical history. The passion of his works resonates universally, while the sophistication of his middle and late operas satisfies demanding ears and tastes.

In Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works (September 2014, Amadeus Press, $24.99), the latest entry in the Amadeus Press “Unlocking the Masters” series, Victor Lederer surveys every one of the master’s 28 operas and his greatest choral pieces, showing Verdi’s growth as a musical dramatist – he would revolutionize the hidebound conventions of 19th-century Italian opera – and his single-minded pursuit of dramatic truth.

After describing the chaotic milieu in which Verdi learned his craft, the book provides act-by-act analyses of the early masterpieces Nabucco, Ernani, and Macbeth. The neglected operas from the composer’s self-described “years in the galleys” are covered together. Lederer then takes readers through the magnificent sequence of Verdi operas from Luisa Miller onward, including the fine but underrated Stiffelio. Each of the late operas – Don Carlo, Aida, and the twin Shakespearean masterworks that crown Verdi’s oeuvre, Otello and Falstaff – is discussed at length in its own chapter. Lederer also examines Verdi’s monumental Requiem along with the choral Quattro pezzi sacri, Verdi’s sublime final achievement.

Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works comes with a Naxos CD of musical selections representing highlights from throughout Verdi’s long, remarkable career.

September 9, 2014
Original with CD
248 pages
6” x 9”
Amadeus Press is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

About the Author:

Victor Lederer is a writer on music and urban history. His books include Beethoven’s Chamber Music: A Listener’s Guide, Beethoven’s Piano Music: A Listener’s Guide, Bach’s Keyboard Music: A Listener’s Guide, and Chopin: A Listener’s Guide to the Master of the Piano, all for the Amadeus Press Unlocking the Masters series. He lives in New York.

About the Series:

The highly acclaimed Unlocking the Masters series now features 23 titles. The reader-friendly language and size bring the reader quickly and easily in to the world of the greatest composers and their music. The accompanying CD tracks are taken from the world’s greatest libraries of recorded classics. Together, they bring the music to life.

Praise for the Unlocking the Masters series:

“With infectious enthusiasm and keen insight, the Unlocking the Masters series succeeds in opening our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to the great composers.” — Strings

“The Unlocking the Masters series guides users to new levels of musical appreciation through an intelligent approach to thinking about music…and it fills a gap in the music-appreciation literature.”     — Choice

“Immensely readable and hard to put down…. This book is for anyone who wishes to understand music better.”            — American Music Teacher

“Each [book] is written in clear, understandable language…. The tone is intended to guide the reader to the heart and soul of the music.” — Rocky Mountain News

“Unlocking the Masters is another in Amadeus Press’s fine line of publications. It is an excellent introduction to composers and their music. The combination short biography and analysis of repertoire finds the right balance between generalities and scholarly profundity without speaking down to the reader or engaging in unnecessary pomposity.”         — American Record Guide

“These books cover everything a musician, student or collector needs for a thorough grounding in the repertoire of classical music.” — The Tennessean


Johnny Cash FAQ

All That’s Left to Know About the Man in Black

by C. Eric Banister


More than a decade after his death, Johnny Cash remains one of the most recognizable artists in the world. Starting in 1956, he released an album every year until his death in 2003, and there have been posthumous releases in the years since. From rockabilly to country, folk to comedy, gospel to classical, the prolific Cash touched nearly every musical genre. His hit singles crossed over from country to pop, as he transcended labels and became a superstar around the globe.

In Johnny Cash FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Man in Black (September 2014, Backbeat Books, $24.99), C. Eric Banister explores the remarkable length and breadth of Cash’s career. Cash skyrocketed from the beginning, flying through the ’60s until he was one of the country’s biggest stars by the end of the decade. Following his own muse through the ’70s, Cash slowly faded commercially until he nearly disappeared in the ’80s. Instead of giving up, he made an incredible late-career run in the ’90s that took him into the new millennium, along the way collaborating with various contemporary rock and pop artists.

His offstage problems often overshadowed the music, and his addiction often takes center stage in the story, pushing the music off the page. But Johnny Cash FAQ celebrates the musical genius of Cash and takes a look at every album Cash released, the stories behind the hits, the key relationships and collaborations in his life (including his partnership with June Carter Cash), and how he sustained his remarkable, nearly 50-year career.

September 9, 2014
Paperback Original    6″ x 9″
408 pages

Black & White Images Throughout

Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Eric Banister is a freelance music journalist who has been a fan of Johnny Cash for as long as he can remember. He runs the website, Music Tomes, where he interviews other music journalists and reviews books about music and musicians. He lives in Scottsburg, Ind.


Ticket to Ride

Inside the Beatles’ 1964 Tour That Changed the World

by Larry Kane | foreword by Dick Clark


In 1964 and 1965, Larry Kane was the only American reporter, broadcast or print, to travel with the Fab Four on every stop of their North American tour.

Originally published in 2003, Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles’ 1964 Tour That Changes the World (October 2014, Backbeat Books, $24.99) is the story of what it was like to literally live with the four young men who would leave an indelible mark on contemporary music. Weaving in the voices of the Beatles themselves and covering the electrifying action of the road-the performances, the mischief, and all the players who cropped up along the way during those key years that catapulted the Beatles to major success, Ticket to Ride is unlike any other book on the Beatles.

The story is told from the perspective of a seasoned journalist, who at the time of the tour was just coming into his own in a nation that was bracing for the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and a radical shift in rock-and-roll music. Just 21 years old and eager to cover “big news,” Kane unknowingly was in the process of covering one of the biggest music events in history. Ticket to Ride is an inside account of these exciting years during the career of the band that redefined rock and roll.

A must-have for Beatles fans, this Backbeat Books paperback edition includes a foreword by the legendary Dick Clark, a CD of bonus interview material, rare photographs, and an appendix detailing tour schedules.

 October 28, 2014
Paperback w/CD
6″ x 9″
272 pages
Two 8-page B&W photo inserts

Backbeat Books is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation


Larry Kane is recognized as one of the nation’s most respected TV journalists. Kane is the author of the book When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top, and his successful media career, including his many years as a staple of Philadelphia broadcasting, spans nearly 50 years. He lives in Philadelphia.


“With perfect pitch and tone, Kane reads like the steadfast news anchor he is now. The enticing and intimate stories that Kane provides are the real star, offering lifelong fans a slightly different view of their heroes” – Publishers Weekly


Acting on the Script

by Bruce Miller


Mastery of craft depends on repetition: the more opportunities student actors have to be guided through analyzing scripts, the more likely they are to develop a reliable process for making choices when the time comes to work independently.

That’s why Acting on the Script by Bruce Miller (September 2014, Applause Books, $24.99) contains eight short plays, which can be used independently or as parts of one full-length play, giving aspiring actors the practice they need to tell the story of the play and of their characters clearly, believably, and compellingly. With each new scene, readers are given the opportunity to think through the analysis and synthesis process independently, before being guided clearly through the process.

The first section reintroduces the basic elements of acting craft. The book then lays out how these elements relate to a script in general and then more specifically – by using a short play to illustrate the basic principles. The second section focuses on specific analysis and synthesis problems using original scenes especially composed to help students develop their analysis and choice-making skills and to address individual acting issues. The plays, which have been tested in classes and two productions (one professional and one college), are filled with the kinds of acting problems that beginning actors often have trouble with and need to learn to solve. In addition, specific problems that actors might have with certain types of material are addressed.

Miller writes in his preface, “It is my belief that when actors learn to use their scripts with appropriate analytical insights, they are better able to find and execute choices that will make the story they are telling clear and compelling, and make the work they are doing more believable as well.” Acting on the Script provides an approach to the script that will serve any actor.

September 9, 2014
Paperback Original
288 pages
 x 9
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Bruce Miller is a professor of theatre at the University of Miami, where he has taught acting for nearly 20 years. He is the author of The Actor as Storyteller, The Scene Study Book, Acting Solo, and Actor’s Alchemy, all published by Limelight Editions. He has written close to 100 articles on acting that have appeared regularly in Dramatics Magazine and Teaching Theatre. He lives in Miami.


Songs and Solos

Creating the right solo for every song

by Rikky Rooksby


Guitar solos have been part of popular music since the amplified electric guitar enable guitarists to be heard as clearly as a jazz trumpeter. Memorable solos are an integral part of great rock songs. With Songs and Solos, Rikky Rooksby, author of Backbeat’s best-selling series for songwriters, helps guitar-playing songwriters to make the best use of solos in their song and teaches exactly how to create awesome solos that will really help their material stand out.

Getting the solo right can make a big difference to the song’s impact. This essential handbook is a manual of creativity for guitarist who want a deeper understanding of lead guitar solos. The main aspects of soloing techniques are covered, and Songs and Solos also makes the reader understand how and why a given solo works in a particular song, and how to enhance a song with a well-crafted solo.

Based on the study of nearly 900 songs from six decades of great music, it explains the musical role played by solos, illustrates which notes work over any chord sequence, and offers a comprehensive range of hints and tips for creating instrumental breaks that will enhance any song. An accompanying CD includes no fewer than 42 sample solos in a range of styles and moods. Separate backing tracks are provided for the reader to work with and play over.

For songwriting guitarists, the book goes beyond mere instrumental technique to demonstrate how lead guitar can be made to serve a song rather than simply decorating it. It also explores the wide range of other instruments that can be used to create really stunning solos.

$24.99 (US)
8.5″ x 11″
272 pagesBackbeat Books is an imprint of Hal Leonard

About the author

Rikky Rooksby is a guitar teacher, songwriter/composer, and writer on music. Backbeat Books has published his best-selling titles, such as how to Write Songs on Guitar, Inside Classic Rock Tracks, Riffs, The Songwriting Sourcebook, Chord Master, Melody, How to Write Songs on Keyboards, Lyrics, Arranging Songs, and How to Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings, and 14 guitar tutor books in the Fastforward series. His transcription work includes songbooks of music by Bob Dylan, The Stone Roses, David Bowie, The White Stripes, and The Beatles, and he has contributed to magazines such as Guitar Techniques, Total Guitar, Guitarist, and Bass Guitar Magazine. Visit his website at

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