Mozart's "Italian" opera styles (opera seria and opera buffa) are examined as the foundation of modern Italian opera. For roughly a century, opera in Italy constituted an authentically popular yet highly sophisticated art form that evolved its own characteristic, organic nature and yet reflected a complex array of aesthetic, social, and political developments. The vocal glories of Bel Canto style as exemplified by Bellini, the dynamic and intensely human drama of Verdi, and the grandiloquent theatricality of Puccini will form the cornerstones of our analysis and discussion. Great operas by Puccini's contemporaries such as "Pagliacci" and "La Giaconda" are looked at. DVDs (with English translations) will allow for full immersion in works that will include Norma, Lucia, Rigoletto, and Tosca, among others.