Overture of Hope
Two Sisters' Daring Plan that Saved Opera's Jewish Stars from the Third Reich
Schindler's List meets The Sound of Music as best-selling New York Post investigative journalist Isabel Vincent delves into pre-World-War-II history to recover the amazing story of two British spinsters who masterminded a plan to spirit dozens of Jewish stars and personnel of the German and Austrian opera to England and save them from a terrible fate under the Third Reich. Will resonate with readers of The Nazi Officer's Wife and The Dressmakers of Auschwitz.
A Secret Aria of Courage and Suspense
Europe, 1937. Two British sisters, one a dowdy typist, the other a soon-to-be famous romance novelist. One shared passion for opera. With prospects for marriage and families of their own cut down by the scythe of World War I, the Cook sisters have thrown themselves into their love of music, with frequent pilgrimages to Germany and Austria to see their favorite opera stars perform. But now with war clouds gathering and harassment increasing, the stars of Continental opera, many of whom are Jewish, face dark futures under the boot heel of the Nazis.
What can two middle-aged British spinsters do about such matters? They can form a secret cabal right under Hitler's nose and get to work saving lives. Along with Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss (a favorite of Hitler, but quietly working with the Cooks) the sisters conspire to bring together worldwide opera aficionados and insiders in an international operation to rescue Jews in the opera from the horrific fate that everyone intuits is coming. By the time war does arrive, the Cooks and their operatives have plucked over two dozen Jewish men and women from the looming maw of the Holocaust and spirited them to safety in England.
Packed with original research and vividly told with suspense, hope, and wonder by award-winning New York Post investigative journalist Isabel Vincent, author of nationally best-selling memoir Dinner with Edward, this singular tale reveals many new details of the seemingly naïve and oblivious Cook sisters' surreptitious bravery, daring, and passionate commitment as the two mount a successful rescue mission that saves dozens of lives and preserves the opera they love for another generation.
“A profoundly moving history of vision, courage, love and commitment.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of national bestseller Eleanor Roosevelt
"A riveting, improbable, uplifting tale, made all the more exciting because it really happened!”—Opera great and 17-time Grammy Award winner Renée Fleming
Published: June, 2023