These essays by respected scholars examine representative operatic production from diverse national schools and periods, documenting the history of operatic staging using the words of composers and their contemporaries from diaries, letters, and writings of the day. Historical performance practice and other purely musical matters are considered as well as the elements of stagecraft, including scenery, costumes, and lighting. Together these essays form a comprehensive history of the staging techniques of opera production over the centuries, from Purcell to Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, and Puccini. Eyewitness accounts will create a new awareness of the defining effects of the original theaters upon familiar operas. Producers, directors, set designers, conductors, and singers will find a wealth of practical and inspiring information.