A striking book on the seed whence Grand Opera sprang, by the brilliant musical critic of the New York Sun, who already has an international reputation through his various books. The purpose of the author is to show that the revival of the theatre in Europe in the middle ages began with lyric drama, constructed in a form containing many of the elements of opera. How the lyric drama wandered for more than a century through a maze of experiments before arriving at the promised land under the guidance of the Florentines is told in these pages. The nature of the early lyric dramas, the character of their music and the manner of their performance are described, and the real artistic significance of the birth of recitative shortly before 1600, is carefully examined. The work thus connects the invention of opera in the last decade of the sixteenth century with the musical plays which preceded it and demonstrates in what measure the first attempt resembled the successful achievements of Peri and Caccini. W. J. Henderson is also the author of Richard Wagner: His Life and Dramas and Modern Musical Drift.