Test Your Knowledge Of Books And Opera!


Test your passion for books, opera, or both! Name these literary pieces and their author and then the operas on which they are based and the composers who wrote them. Good luck!

  1. In this novella from 1937, two homeless ranch workers George Milton and Lennie Small, traverse California looking for work during the Great Depression. Made into a film in 1992, starring John Malkovich, the opera was written in 1969.
  2. This was the first novel by this double Booker Prize-winning Australian writer. Published in 1981, it won that year’s Miles Franklin Award. Made into a film 1985 starring Barry Otto, the opera premiered at the Sydney Opera House 2010.
  3. This play opened on Broadway in 1947. It’s about an ageing Southern belle who, after a series of personal losses, leaves her privileged background and seeks refuge with reltives in a dilapidated New Orleans apartment. It was made into a film in 1951 starring Vivian Leigh. The opera premiered in San Francisco in 1995.
  4. This epic was first published as a whole in 1869. It tells of the Napoleonic invasion of Russia and its impact on Tsarist society, through the lives of five Russian aristocratic families. Adapted several times for film and TV, it was performed at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973.
  5. The writer in this novella has writer’s block and visits Venice where his obsession with a stunningly beautiful youth, ruins the writer who eventually dies of cholera. The 1971 film by Visconti stars Dirk Bogarde. The opera was written in 1973, the last by this composer.
  6. An adaptation of the novel of the same name, the opera premiered at the Adelaide Festival in 1986, conducted by Stuart Challender. An obsessed German explorer attempts to traverse the uncharted Australian continent.
  7. Based on a historical novel set in 17th century Scotland and published in 1815, it is about a vulnerable young woman, caught in a feud between her family and another. The opera was written in 1835.
  8. This infamous opera is based on an eponymous French play, based on a Biblical tale. It premiered in Dresden in 1905. The Vienna censor refused Mahler permission to perform it so it was not seen at the Vienna State Opera until 1918. The Austrian premiere in Graz in 1906 under the composer, was attended by Schoenberg, Puccini, Berg and Mahler. It was banned in London and modified for its premiere performance at Covent Garden under Thomas Beecham in 1910.
  9. This 1898 horror novella tells of a governess caring for two children at a remote estate. She becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted. The opera premiered in 1954.
  10. The famous play gave rise to the composer’s penultimate opera, premiering at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, in 1887. The play, thought to have been written in 1603, goes even further back in time to a story published 1565 by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio. There are two main characters – a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous ensign.



  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck/Carlisle Floyd.
  2. Bliss by Peter Carey/Brett Dean.
  3. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams/Andre Previn
  4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy/Sergei Prokofiev
  5. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann/Benjamin Britten
  6. Voss by Patrick White/ Richard Meale
  7. The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott/ Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti.
  8. Salomé Oscar Wilde/ Richard Strauss
  9. Turn of the Screw by Henry James/ Benjamin Britten
  10. Othello by William Shakespeare/ Otello by Giuseppe Verdi




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