In addition to his many other contributions to the study of music, Donington, who died in January 1990, was a keen student of both psychology and philosophy. His Wagner's ``Ring'' and Its Symbols (1968) was an important book at its time and may be considered the precursor of the present volume. Donington has made some revisions in his previous thoughts on Wagner and extended his thoughts on opera symbolism to include opera from Monteverdi to the 20th century, with especial emphasis on Verdi and Strauss. Some readers will come to different conclusions using the same assumptions as Donington, but all should find the book a rewarding, if not easy, read. Recommended for academic and public library music collections.-- William Shank, CUNY Graduate Sch. Lib.