Use: Provides overviews of opera plots in conjunction with descriptive analysis of the music that accompanies them. Intended for opera lovers rather than musical scholars.
Coverage: Selected operas by Wagner, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, and others. Includes brief biographies of the composers.
Organization: Divided into three main sections, termed volumes. The first section discusses selected operas by Wagner. The second section discusses operas by Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, von Weber, and Thomas. The third section discusses works of Verdi, Gounod, Bizet, Offenbach, Humperdinck, and Puccini.
Pros: Provides specific observations about composers’ possible intentions that help the reader understand performances better. Each opera is discussed in a moderate amount of detail.
Cons: The musical analysis is very limited. The focus is much greater on plot than on music. Doesn’t include significant information on twentieth-century operas.