The author is a retired academic who has had a life-long passion for opera and who has attended many performances at home and abroad. The book draws on his numerous and geographically diverse experiences. It contrasts opera-going in different, predominantly European, countries and over time, from the 1960s to the present day. It covers not only the obviously main themes - music, singers, productions, opera houses and their audiences; it also deals with peripheral matters such as the obtaining of tickets, operatic excursions, and "calamities" which may occur. It is anecdotal and personal, discursive, and amusing, but also informative. If you want to know more about the world of opera - what goes right and what goes wrong - you'll enjoy this.
I came across this by chance and being an opera mad person I had high hopes for it. I was right. The author is knowledgeable and he writes about it with erudition and the important awareness of the deep emotions this art form engenders. I moved from the USA to Cambridge in late 80s to do research and so began also my life of going to the opera. Being familiar with the opera houses in Europe I have found his accounts a brilliant reminder of the joys of heart and mind opera brings to a willing spirit. So sad to come to the end of his excellent book.