Enjoyable and rewarding catalog of the nuts and bolts of today's opera productions throughout the West. While referring to glamorous singers and famous houses, Opera Today delves into every aspect of staging an opera in today's houses, beginning with administrative difficulties in funding, planning the season and casting the singers (often years in advance). The authors discuss the distinct stages of building the singer's voice, turning the singer into a performer and building a career as a performing singer. Also surveyed are conductors and conducting opera: preparing the music, the orchestra, the chorus, working with the principal singers and with the producer. The producer's and the designer's jobs in evolving the conception, the producer's work with the designer, working out the sets, the lighting, the costumes, wigs and armor, are covered, too. There's also discussion of performers who ""prize stagecraft (the art of maintaining some semblance of naturalness on stage whilst watching the conductor and projecting into the auditorium) more highly than acting, and do not necessarily acknowledge any place at all for acting in opera."" Luciano Pavarotti and Dame Joan Sutherland agree that if people ""want a good dramatic performance, they should go to a straight play."" The authors also dig into modern opera and modern composers, and examine the lack of melody as an undermining factor in the difficulty of remounting a modern opera after the novelty of first performance has faded. Satisfyingly illustrated, readable and in no way disappointing.