This book was first published in hard covers in 1976 to mark the centenary of the birth of Edward J. Dent, now best remembered as translator of Mozart's opera libretti, as author of the best-known popular introductory book, Opera (Penguin) and for his book on Mozart's Operas (Oxford). He was a scholar of great range and wrote with style and wit. For many years he was professor of Music at Cambridge. Deriving from a course of previously unpublished lectures, the book concentrates on the crucial romantic period and shows how romantic opera had its origins not in Germany, as is often thought, but in the music-dramas and operas of revolutionary France and that this music was a source of nineteenth-century German symphonic style as well as of grand opera. The book is edited by Winton Dean who supplied a brief introduction and a number of notes incorporating relevant scholarship.