The book presents the fundamentals of human interaction through seven masterpieces of Italian opera.
The composer is regarded as a keen and sensitive observer of the human scene who uses musical language and text to tell a real life story. Characters are portrayed in dynamic situations which are interpreted in psychodynamic terms. Emphasis is placed on the composer's ability to create drama.
The composer's musical skills and use of the libretto are in the service of the drama. The use of music is no different in opera than words in a play or novel. The composer combines music, lyrics and venue to create a personal, individual work.