For those who expect a reflection of the gain splendor, the glamour and excitement associated with opera, this book will prove disappointing. The approach here is strictly academic, designed to provide the student with a well rounded picture of each aspect of this art form. First a brief history of opera --its birth and development; then a thorough examination of the roles of librettist, translator, composer, conductor, singer, director, choreographer, designer. A rehearsal in which each of these ""protagonists"" contributes to the whole panorama is a logical climax to an intricate story. The function of each person attached to the opera becomes more meaningful as his duties are described within the context of specific operas, changing times. How Verdi and Arroyo Boite merged their talents in Otello, what problems the translator encountered in imposing German on Italian music, how the opera director works as a human clearing house are a few examples. Opera lovers and tentative novices- both -- will find an abundance of useful information here.