This is really fun. It’s kind of autobiographical, the revelations of Max Maretzek who claims to have brought Italian opera to America, in 1848. It’s a series of letters to various people about his experiences, the first one is to the composer Hector Berlioz, and they’re all written in a quite witty way. But they give the casual reader a fantastic insight into the chaotic, brilliant and fascinating world of opera at that time, because it was tremendously popular. Opera took off very rapidly in America, there are masses of tiny little opera houses all over the country. I’ve always thought that the real heroes of opera are not really the singers or the conductors or the musicians, it’s the people who organize it. This a great book because it documents that aspect, it really captures the chaos of opera.