Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Commentary

The Italian Opera Connection at ‘The English Versailles’: The Duchess of Buccleuch and the Georgian Stage at Boughton House

As part of its annual programme of events, Boughton House in Northamptonshire hosts ‘A Passion for Opera’, a rare exhibition portraying the musical life of Lady Elizabeth Montagu (1743–1827) and the world of Georgian operatic culture.

An interview with composer Dani Howard

The young Hong Kong-born British composer Dani Howard is having quite a busy year.

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycle

Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced both schedules and cast-lists for is Spring 2020 performances of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Given the series of individual productions already staged by the company since Fall 2016, that pave the way for the complete cycle, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s complete production should affirm the artistic might of the great composer.

Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy on Salzburg, Sellars and Singing

For Peter Sellars, Mozart’s Idomeneo is a ‘visionary’ work, a utopian opera centred on a classic struggle between a father and a son written by an angry 25-year-old composer who wanted to show the musical establishment what a new generation could do.

London Bel Canto Festival 2019: an interview with Ken Querns-Langley

“Physiognomy, psychology and technique.” These are the three things that determine the way a singer’s sound is produced, so Ken Querns-Langley explains when we meet in the genteel surroundings of the National Liberal Club, where the training programmes, open masterclasses and performances which will form part the third London Bel Canto Festival will be held from 5th-24th August.

The Royal Opera Tours to Japan in September 2019

The Royal Opera is delighted to be returning to Japan in September 2019 as part of an exciting year of UK-Japan exchanges, titled UK in Japan 2019-20, following the Company’s hugely successful tour in autumn 2015.

Longborough Festival Opera announces collaboration with The Academy of Ancient Music in 2020

Longborough Festival Opera will collaborate with the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) for its production of Monteverdi The Return of Ulysses in 2020. Robert Howarth will conduct Monteverdi’s beautiful, compassionate drama, with Tom Randle in the title role.

Glyndebourne’s first production of Dialogues des Carmélites to open Glyndebourne Festival 2020

Glyndebourne’s first production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites will open Glyndebourne Festival 2020, it was announced today. The opera house unveiled its 2020 plans at an event in its recently built Production Hub, hosted by Glyndebourne’s new senior leadership team, Artistic Director Stephen Langridge and Managing Director Sarah Hopwood, who jointly replace the former position of General Director.

Garsington Opera Announces 2020 season and 2019 Paris Performance

Garsington Opera is delighted to announce the 2020 season that will open on 28 May, featuring three new productions - Verdi’s Un giorno di regno, Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto, Dvořák’s Rusalka and a revival of John Cox’s legendary production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

Un ballo in maschera at Investec Opera Holland Park: in conversation with Alison Langer

“Sop. Page, attendant on the King.” So, reads a typical character description of the loyal page Oscar, whose actions, in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, unintentionally lead to his monarch’s death. He reveals the costume that King Gustavo is wearing at the masked ball, thus enabling the monarch’s secretary, Anckarstroem, to shoot him. The dying King falls into the faithful Oscar’s arms.

Martin Duncan directs the first UK staging of Offenbach's Fantasio at Garsington

A mournful Princess forced by her father into an arranged marriage. A Prince who laments that no-one loves him for himself, and so exchanges places with his aide-de-camp. A melancholy dreamer who dons a deceased jester’s motley and finds himself imprisoned for impertinence.

Thomas Larcher's The Hunting Gun at the Aldeburgh Festival: in conversation with Peter Schöne

‘Aloneness’ does not immediately seem a likely or fruitful subject for an opera. But, loneliness and isolation - an individual’s inner sphere, which no other human can truly know or enter - are at the core of Yasushi Inoue’s creative expression.

The London Handel Festival and The Royal Opera announce a co-production of Handel’s Susanna starring members of The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme

The London Handel Festival and The Royal Opera today [14 May 2019] announced a co-production of Handel’s oratorio Susanna as part of the 2020 London Handel Festival. The new production, performed in English in the Linbury Theatre [5 - 14 March 2020], will star members and Link Artists from The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. Handel’s Susanna was written for Covent Garden and had its premiere on the site in 1749, but has not been performed at Covent Garden since.

Royal Opera House announces 17 new productions for its 2019/20 Season

The Royal Opera House today launches its 2019/20 Season, unveiling an exciting range of new commissions, world premieres and much-loved revivals, supported by a diverse range of ticketed and free daytime events, activities and festivals for people of all ages. In the first full Season since the completion of the Royal Opera House’s three-year Open Up renovation, The Royal Opera Company unveils a host of innovative new work, with 13 new productions, including two world premieres, in the Season ahead.

In interview with Polly Graham, Artistic Director of Longborough Festival Opera

What links Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Cavalli’s La Calisto? It sounds like the sort of question Paul Gambaccini might pose to contestants on BBC Radio 4’s music quiz, Counterpoint.

Carlo Diacono: L’Alpino

“Diacono himself does not know what musical talent he possesses” – Mascagni

Daniel Kramer to step down as English National Opera’s Artistic Director

Daniel Kramer is to step down as ENO’s Artistic Director at the end of July 2019 in order to focus on directing more opera and theatre full time.

Wexford Festival Opera's award-winning Il bravo to be streamed on ARTE.tv

From 7 pm (CEST), this Sunday 21 April, ARTE, the European public service broadcaster, will stream one of last year’s Wexford Festival Opera productions, Saverio Mercadante’s Il bravo, which was recently named ‘Best Opera Production’ at The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards. Il bravo will be freely available worldwide on ARTE’s digital on-demand culture channel, Arte Concert, as part of ARTE’s 2019 Opera Season, a special online service for lovers of classical music. The opera will subtitled in English, German and French.

Bampton Classical Opera 2019: Stephen Storace - Bride & Gloom (Gli sposi malcontenti)

Newly-wed Casimiro and Eginia hardly seem to be enjoying a state of marital bliss. Why does Eginia sleep on her own, and why is her ex, Artidoro, still hanging around? He now seems to have an eye for the undoubted charms of Casimiro’s sister, Enrichetta - but she’s also attracted the lustful interest of dull and dusty Dr Valente, a man likely to turn nasty if thwarted …

Transylvanian-born mezzo-soprano Eszter Balogh wins the 2019 Handel Singing Competition

Following the final on Saturday 6 April, the Handel Singing Competition announced mezzo-soprano Eszter Balogh as the 2019 winner. Alongside Eszter, the finalists were Patrick Terry (countertenor), David de Winter (tenor) and William Thomas (bass) and the final took place at St George’s, Hanover Square in London in front of a live audience.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Title page of the libretto for Jacopo Peri and Ottavio Rinuccini’s “L’Euridice,” Florence, 1600. [Courtesy of University of Texas]
13 Jan 2010

Collection of Italian Opera Libretti Now Accessible at Harry Ransom Center

AUSTIN, Texas — A major collection of Italian opera libretti is now accessible through an online database at the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.

Collection of Italian Opera Libretti Now Accessible at Harry Ransom Center

Above: Title page of the libretto for Jacopo Peri and Ottavio Rinuccini’s “L’Euridice,” Florence, 1600. [Courtesy of University of Texas]

 

The opera libretti database can be accessed online.

The collection of 3,421 items was donated in 1969 by New York rare book dealer Hans P. Kraus. The collection consists primarily of texts of Italian operas but also includes Italian cantatas, serenatas, oratorios, dialogues and Passions.

The collection, which dates from the 17th through the 20th century, documents musical performances by Italian, French, German and Austrian composers performed in numerous Italian cities and elsewhere.

“This extraordinary collection gathers in a single place rare and, in some instances, unique testimonies of the evolution of Italian opera from its origins in the 1600s to the 20th century,” said Guido Olivieri, a musicologist in the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. “The study of these libretti is of the utmost importance to the history of vocal music. It offers to musicologists and opera historians the possibility of analyzing the relationship between text and music and comparing different versions of the same libretto. It also provides valuable details on the organization of specific events and crucial information on the context of their production.

“The collection, however, is also a precious resource for Italianists and cultural studies scholars to reconstruct the transformations of Italian language and narratological structures, look at the evolution of theatrical and social conventions, and examine the broader cultural contexts in which these works originated.”

By the late 19th century, libretti were printed for audience members at almost every musical production, and they became a detailed and reliable source of information on the performance of individual operas, as the libretto was often the only surviving record of an opera’s performance. A researcher could glean from a libretto, for example, information about the date of the production, the size and composition of the orchestra, the composer, the poet, the singers, the director, the impresario, the scene designers and various other members of the stage staff.

Researchers can also learn about how libretti of important librettists were treated in a variety of performances, the popularity of given works and the musical activity at the courts, theaters and oratories of such centers as Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence, Naples, Palermo and Bologna.

Significant individual items in the Kraus libretti collection include the first edition of what is generally considered the earliest opera, “Ottavio Rinuccini,” and Jacopo Peri’s “La Dafne,” performed in Florence in 1600, published in 1597. Also present is the first edition of Rinuccini’s “L’Euridice,” produced in Florence in 1600 for the marriage of Henry IV of France and Maria de’ Medici and the earliest opera for which music is preserved. Other important works include Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fidelio” (Rome, 1886) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Il Flauto Magico” (Milan, 1886) and “Il Don Giovanni” (Florence, 1818).

The collection also includes works by poets Apostolo Zeno and Pietro Metastasio and composers Giuseppe Verdi, Domenico Cimarosa, Giovanni Paisiello, Saverio Mercadante, Gaetano Donizetti, Johann Simon Mayr and Gioachino Rossini.

The Kraus libretti collection joins other music holdings at the Ransom Center, including an opera collection that consists of biographical materials on operatic performers from the 1880s through the 1950s. The careers of about 1,000 performers from this period are documented with photographs, clippings, prints, programs and playbills. The collection also includes production photographs relating to operatic works produced for the American stage and materials documenting the history of prominent opera companies in the United States and in Europe.

The Ransom Center also holds the library of bibliophile, collector and concert violinist Edwin Bachmann, which includes first and early editions of music by major western European composers (with particular strengths in Beethoven, Mozart and Frédéric Chopin), early treatises on music and a few copyist’s manuscripts, including works by Joseph Haydn, Mozart and Giovanni Battista Viotti.

The Carlton Lake collection contains manuscript scores by Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel, Paul Dukas and Albert Roussel, as well as works by Franz Liszt, Camille Saint-Saëns, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky and Giuseppe Verdi.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):