I cannot think that I have ever read a more interesting book on classical music than Divas and Scholars. Based on my training, I have always assumed that Rossini was simply the end of the Neapolitan school of opera which began with Alesandro Scarlatti, and while it is true that he is deeply steeped in the Neapolitan tradition, dramatically and structurally he leads the transition to Romantic Italian opera. The material on Rossini alone is deeply fascinating.
Accompanying the scholars on their quest, matching them at every turn with performances of astounding quality, in fact leading the charge to Rossini revival is the one and only Marilyn Horne. I kneel.