Translations. I have provided the original language in the footnotes for all translations from eighteenth-century sources. Translations are mine except where otherwise noted. Punctuation and spelling in the texts from libretti have occasionally been corrected without comment. I have translated titles of rank where they correspond to a commonly used English word (prince, baron, queen). Where the English title is either less meaningful to most readers (e.g., marchese) or has no easy English equivalent (e.g., contino), I have left it in Italian. The only intentional exception to this concerns the roles of the Conte and Contessa in Fra i due litiganti il terzo gode, which I have left in Italian to avoid confusion with the Count and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro.
Operatic identification. The librettist and composer are indicated at the first mention of each opera. Thereafter I have normally used only the title, sometimes slightly abbreviated. Appendix 1 lists the main operas studied for this book, with the date of the first Viennese performance as well as the place and date of the premiere. The reader is referred to this appendix for details of names, authorships, and origins.
Plot summaries. Plot summaries for the majority of the most frequently or most elaborately discussed operas in this book (L'amore artigiano, L'arbore di Diana, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Una cosa rara, Il curioso indiscreto, Fra i due litiganti il terzo gode, La fiera di Venezia, I filosofi immaginari, La grotta di Trofonio, La finta giardiniera, Le gelosie villane) can be found in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Plot summaries for three operas discussed several times in this book but not included in NGO—Le gare generose, I finti eredi, and L'incognita perseguitata—can be found in Appendix 3.