During the 70s Queen were one of the biggest bands around. With their shameless theatrical bombast and equal propensity for blistering hard rock and vaudevillian camp, not to mention their instrumental prowess and Freddy Mercury's otherworldly voice.. If you wanted a blueprint for a great rock band, Queen would be it. And 1975's "A Night at the Opera" was their crowning moment. The album's defining characteristic is its lofty operatic pretensions. This is most obvious and comes to a head in that overwrought masterpiece "Bohemian Rhapsody", but even in heavier ("like Death on Two Legs", the scathing opener) and lighter (such as the short-but-sweet "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon") the operatic aspirations are evident. The songwriting itself is uniformly impressive as well. Freddie Mercury takes the spotlight with his vocal acrobatics and as the prime instigator of the album's bombast, holding the bulk of its song credits. But my favourite track is"'39", which is Brian May's baby. After "Bohemian Rhapsody" has faded away the album closes out with a histrionic, tongue-in-cheek performance of the British national anthem "God Save the Queen", and that about says it for the album, and for Queen themselves. "A Night at the Opera" is a masterwork of ostentation and an absolute classic.