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The New Grove Book of Operas
ISBN 0333651073 / 9780333651070 / 0-333-65107-3Find This Book
The cover blurb calls The New Grove Book of Operas, "The world's definitive single volume of opera reference," and for once the hype is right on the money. The plot synopses are well done, with musical notes and historic background, some nice illustrations, and three very useful appendices: a fine and complete glossary; an index of role names; and an "Index of Incipits," or first lines, for hundreds of arias, choruses, and ensembles. This may well be the best English-language opera reference available. [via]