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Operatic by Kyo Maclear and Bryon Eggenschwiler is a graphic novel that uses a middle school music class as a framing device to dive into the life and career of opera diva Maria Callas.
Charlie has to find her perfect song for an end of the year assignment. The music class is putting together an album of perfect songs: each song representing a student in the class.
During one particular class the teacher plays an aria by Maria Callas. Charlie instantly feels herself wrapped up in the perfect song. The remainder of the book is divided between her time in school and her research into Calla's life.
The illustrations by Bryon Eggenschwiler transcend the usual boxy panel format. They flow out of their confines. The colors create the mood and define the scenes and time periods.
There's also a side plot about an empty desk and a missing student. We learn through his blue themed scenes that he was bullied for his love songs and his effeminate appearance.
The three way plot of biography, finding the perfect song, and the empty desk mystery end up competing for the reader's attention. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. To fully appreciate the graphic novel on might need a re-read.