This book has been in my bag for a long time and, on reflection, I am glad that I have read it gradually. When the central premise is so simple – Grand Opera Outside Paris is, indeed, about Grand Opera outside Paris – the payback comes in the detail of individual chapters and the slow emergence of a Europe-wide survey of encounter and exchange. The volume's editor, Jens Hesselager, provides an erudite and generous introduction, beginning with the familiar difficulty of defining grand opera and the importance of attending to specific performance contexts. In the first instances, of course, this meant the Paris Opéra, and Hesselager draws our attention to Sarah Hibberd's observation that the coherence of the genre was initially established ‘more through the licensing requirements of [this] institution than by [any] specific dramatic content’ (1). From here, the introduction gently encourages us to look outward.