Composer Matthew Aucoin’s Debut Book ‘The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera’ to Publish in December 2021

By Chris Ruel
Photo: Steven Laxton

Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux has announced the Dec. 7, 2021 release of composer Matthew Aucoin’s debut book “The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera,” which centers on what he considers the magic of opera: its impossibility.

“The operatic ideal, an imagined union of all the human senses and all art forms—music, drama, dance, poetry, painting—is itself an impossibility,” Aucoin stated in a press release. “This impossibility, this perpetual sense that the real thing is out of reach, is opera’s lifeblood.”

The book’s December 2021 publication date coincides with the run of the composer’s third opera, “Eurydice,” at the Metropolitan Opera. Aucoin and librettist Sarah Ruhl’s opera re-imagines the Greek myth of Orpheus from Eurydice’s standpoint, and he details the creation of the work in his book. Aucoin also explores various operas from across the centuries, relating how each served as inspiration and informed his compositions.

The composer became a wunderkind in the industry at age 25 when his first opera, “Crossing,” premiered at the American Repertory Theater. In a May 2015 profile in The New York Times Magazine, Brian Zeger, the former executive director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program—of which Aucoin is an alum—stated that “Wagner is really the only parallel.”