Opera is a thrilling art form that deals with life's rawest emotions and greatest passions: love, jealousy, revenge, forgiveness, sex, passion, corruption, fate, power and death. Combining music with drama creates an exciting spectacle which can convey emotions, create moods, and portray the inner feelings and desires of characters more powerfully than words alone. Add in wonderful sets, costumes and increasingly complex technical effects, and you have a genre that embraces all the arts in one. This accessible and engaging introduction has been written for both students and newcomers to opera. Simply explained, and illustrated with pictures from a wide range of productions, it includes: A guide to what to expect when you go to the opera Behind-the-scenes insights into how an opera is put together and staged, including set design, costumes, lighting and technical effects An overview of the history and development of opera through the ages An in-depth look at 12 featured operas from different periods and styles A playlist of video clips has been chosen to accompany the book.