It is apparently stereotypical that the older one gets, the more one gravitates to opera. Now ripe in years, I feel a compulsion to study the subject more widely and in more detail than I did when I was young. The major portion of this site is devoted to detailed notes or English translations of libretti, but I propose as well to comment on different types of music drama and their conventions from the point of view of a listener. I shall confess at the outset that for most of my life I have been oriented toward the German tradition to the prejudice of the Italian and French. Therefore, I feel obliged to confront my prejudices by diving first into the world of Bel Canto and then getting to know more about 19th-century French opera.