Opera: A History by Christopher Headington, Roy Westbrook, and Terry Barfoot is a 399-page published in 1987 by St. Martin's Press, New York, and is a stated first U.S. Edition. The dust jacket has light shelf wear and surface rubbing. Inside, the book pages are clean and unmarked and the binding is solid. The condition is very good.
The roots of opera lie in the music drama of ancient Greece and medieval Christian and secular musical plats, but it was not until the Renaissance that opera emerged in Italy as a separate musical form. If the great majority of works by Italian composers of the seventeenth century are now forgotten, revivals in recent years of operas by Monteverdi and others have shown modern audiences something of the glories of early operatic composition. A dimension was added when the court of Louis XIV incorporated operatic forms into its traditional masques and ballets in the seventeenth century, and by the early eighteenth century opera had become a universal European language, as is shown by the successful operas of Handel--a German writing Italian operas for English audiences.
Opera then covers the High Baroque and its reformers, and shows how Mozart inherited, and transformed, the three eighteenth-century forms of opera seria, opera buffa and Singspiel. It then moves to the French and German heroic and early Romantic operas that appeared around the time of the French revolution.
In the second half of the book three chapters are devoted to the great Italian period from Rossini to Puccini, and one discusses Wagner's music dramas after Lohengrin. There are chapters on Russia and national traditions which take the story of opera from Glinka to Vaughan Williams and Bernstein. Three final chapters bring the survey to the present day and include discussion of works by Penderecki, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sallinen, Glass and Birtwistle.