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Valerie Niemerg
Elly Uncomposed
Rehearsal pianist Elizabeth Kirtenpepper loves her cramped, corner studio and the cool, unseen depths of the orchestra pit. But when she's mysteriously transported into a real-life 18th-century opera—The Marriage of Figaro—Elizabeth finds herself in a very different kind of pit: the scullery of the ruthless and domineering Count Almaviva. Stuffed into a corset and forced to wear impractical shoes, Elizabeth meets Figaro, Susanna, and the whole cast of memorable characters. But no one is sticking to their story, and a strange, hooded villain is running through the estate, unraveling every bar line and fermata of Mozart's score! Elizabeth soon realizes that if she wants to return to her 21st-century of indoor plumbing and hair conditioner, everyone else must first return to their original plot. To confront the nefarious hooded operatic villain (who is undoubtedly a baritone), Elizabeth conjures her own inner diva and sets out to vanquish calamities from leprosy and witch hunts to revolutions in Spain. But the little pianist from Kansas may just end up changing her own story as well, when she discovers that everything she ever really needed to know, she learned at the opera.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: The well-worn trope of time travel nonetheless proves effective in this story, centered around a historic opera, that will be especially enjoyed by music and opera buffs.

Prose: The author, a retired opera singer, is an excellent and strong writer. The only bolded musical terms prove distracting and perhaps could be transferred to footnotes, though the glossary proves helpful. 

Originality: Although time travel itself is not an original idea, the idea of setting the story within an opera is unique. The text is not only original, but proves highly humorous in parts.

Character Development/Execution: Elizabeth is a very clear, well-developed character. Her rescuer in the 18th century, Gaspar, is empathetic and kind. A number of the other figures here read like fairy tale characters. The details of the women's clothing prove particularly vivid.

Date Submitted: May 06, 2022