Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Commentary

The Metropolitan Opera to cancel its Live in HD transmission of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer scheduled for this fall

 

Anna Prohaska, one of Europe’s most promising sopranos

Anna Prohaska sings Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Royal Opera House. In the same month, she’s also in London to sing a recital with Eric Schneider at the Wigmore Hall, and to sing Henze with Sir Simon Rattle at the Barbican Hall.

Garsington Opera’s 25th anniversary unites its past with its future

Garsington Opera celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Annapolis Opera’s 26th Annual Vocal Competitions

Baritone Brandon Coleman’s mother, Linda, knew that 3-year old Brandon would be a great singer when a stranger who had heard him, predicted it.

Barbiere Comes to Sin City

Professional opera returns to the Las Vegas Valley June 6th and 8th with performances of one of the best-known comic operas of all time, Gioachino Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Jean-Paul Scarpitta in Montpellier

I met with the embattled artistic director of the Opéra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.

Interview: Tenor Saimir Pirgu — From Albania to Italy to LA

Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.

Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor, dies aged 80

Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80

Matthew Polenzani — Des Grieux, Manon, Royal Opera House

Matthew Polenzani reprises the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in Jules Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. “I love coming back to London”, he says, “It’s a very good house and they take care of you as a singer. And the level of music making is unbelievably high”.

Season 2014 at San Diego Opera

On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).

Maestro Joseph Rescigno Discusses The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.

Royal Opera House Announces Digital Theatre

The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global following with its cinema broadcasts.

Patricia Racette on Dolores Claiborne

On a personal level, I feel that Dolores is almost like Emmeline grown up. Their circumstances are not exactly parallel, but they are both women at very different points in their lives whose stories involve dilemmas with life-changing outcomes.

Tobias Picker Talks About His New Opera Dolores Claiborne

With the help of Andrew Welch, a London theatrical producer who had adapted several of King’s works for the stage, including this one, I got the rights to both Dolores Claiborne and Misery.

Dolora Zajick on New Opera Written for Her

On September 18, 2013, San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera, Dolores Claiborne, which has a libretto by J. D. McClatchy based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.

Ermonela Jaho — Singing and Character

Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.

Ignite at Wigmore Hall

What do you get if you cross Benjamin Britten, ‘one-page scores’, an innovative performing ensemble and ‘Wigmore Learning’ — the Wigmore Hall’s imaginative outreach programme which aims to provide access to chamber music and song through innovative creative programmes, online resources and events?

Marseille, Capital of European Culture

Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).

Rossini Maometto Secondo at Garsington Opera - David Parry speaks

Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.

Michele Mariotti conducts La donna del lago

Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.

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):