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Singer's Corner: OPERA

Finding Operas in ZSR Library's Catalog

See "Dramatic works" and "Short works" on the following page:

Libretti

Besides appearing in scores and with recordings, libretti are also published separately for purposes of study.

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject term:

  • Operas -- Librettos.

You'll also find them shelved under the call number ML50 (arranged alphabetically by composer).

 

Plot Synopses

These can be found in reference sources like Oxford Music Online (available on our “Databases” page), dictionaries of opera (see "Reference Sources" below), and with recordings.

There are also books that are collections of synopses for the major operas. Find these in the Library's catalog using this subject term:

  • Operas -- Stories, plots, etc.

You'll also find them shelved under the call number MT95.

Examples:

Kobbe's Illustrated Opera Book: 32 of the World's Best-Loved Operas.

Fellner, Rupdolph. Opera Themes and Plots.

The Metropolitan Book of the Opera: Synopses of the Operas.

Diction

Guides to the diction of foreign languages have been published for singers.

Some examples:

A Handbook of diction for singers: Italian, German, French.

Phonetic readings of Brahms Lieder.

Singing early music: the pronunciation of European languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance

Russian songs and arias: phonetic readings, word-by-word translations, and a concise guide to Russian diction.

 

Finding them in the Library

Search these and other diction guides in the Library's catalog using this subject term:

  • Singing -- Diction.

You can also find them shelved under the call numbers MT883 and MT872.

 

The International Phonetic Alphabet

Developed by linquists, the IPA has symbols representing all known sounds of spoken language (distinguishing, for example, between long and short "a").

Singers and actors use the IPA as a diction aid.

Some IPA guides:

International Phonetic Alphabet for singers: a manual for English and foreign language diction.

Reference Sources

Encyclopedias

New Grove Dictionary of Opera (in Oxford Music Online, available on our “Databases” page).

 

 

 

Dictionaries

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Opera -- Dictionaries.
  • Opera -- [Place] -- Dictionaries.
  • Operas --Characters --Dictionaries.

You'll also find them shelved under the call number ML102.O6. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks (shelves).)

Examples:

A-Z of Opera.

The Oxford Dictionary of Opera.

Annals of Opera, 1597-1940.

The Mellen Opera Reference Index.

Operas in German: a Dictionary.

Who's Who in Opera: a Guide to Opera Characters

Gilbert and Sullivan Lexicon.

Blacks in Opera: an Encyclopedia of People and Companies.

 

Bibliographies

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Opera -- Bibliography.
  • Opera -- [Place] -- Bibliography.

You'll also find them shelved under the call number ML128.O4. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks.)

Examples:

American operas: a Checklist.

Cross Index Title Guide to Opera and Operetta.

 

Discographies

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Operas -- Discography.
  • Operas -- [Place] -- Discography.

You'll also find them shelved under the call number ML156.4.O46. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks.)

Examples:

A Guide to Opera Recordings.

Opera on Compact Disc: a Crictical Guide to the Best Recordings.

The Metropolitan Opera on Record: a Discography of the Commercial Recordings.

Dictionary of Afro-American Performers: 78 rpm and Cylinder Recordings of Opera, Choral Music...

 

Videographies

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Operas -- Video catalogs.
  • Operas -- [Place] -- Video catalogs.

You'll also find them shelved under the call number ML158.6.O6. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks.)

Examples:

The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Opera on Video.

Encyclopedia on Screen: a Guide to more than 100 Years of Opera Films, Videos, and DVDs.

 

Secondary Literature

Journals

Look for these on our "Journals" page:

Cambridge Opera Journal 

Opera News

Opera Quarterly

 

Study Guides

General research guides for opera can be found in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Operas -- Analysis, appreciation.
  • [Headings for opera dictionaries, bibliographies, and discographies shown under "Reference Sources" above.]

Examples:

Marco, Guy. Opera: a Research and Information Guide.

Opera: the Rough Guide.

 

There are also books devoted to the analysis of specific composers' operas. Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject term:

  • [Composer name] -- Operas.

Examples:

The Complete Operas of Strauss: a Critical Guide.

The Operas of Benjamin Britten: an Introduction.

 

Analyses of many individual operas have been published in series. Search the following series titles in the Library's catalog:

Opera Guide

Cambridge Opera Handbooks

Opera Classics Library

 

Performance Histories

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Operas -- Performances.
  • Operas -- First Performances.
  • [Composer name] -- Performances.

Examples:

A Handbook of American Operatic Premieres.

First Nights at the Opera.

Verdi and his major Contemporaries: a Selected Chronology of Performances with Casts.

Wagner in Performance.

 

Production Guides

Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Opera -- Production and direction.
  • Opera -- Stage guides.
  • Opera -- Stage-setting and scenery.

You'll also find many of them shelved under the call number MT955. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks (shelves).)

Examples:

Operas in One Act: a Production Guide.

Recent American Opera: a Production Guide.

Opera in Context: Essays on Historical Staging from the Late Renaissance to the time of Puccini.

Costuming for Opera: Who Wears What and Why.

 

Also useful in this area are picture books of opera. Find these in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Opera -- Pictorical works.

Examples:

Picture history of opera.

Oper, Szene und Darstellung von 1600 bis 1900.

 

Related subject terms:

  • Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery.
  • Stage lighting.
  • Costume.

 

Biographies

In opera research, you may be consulting biographies of composers, librettists, singers, conductors, visual artists, impressarios, and the histories of opera companies or opera houses.

Encyclopedias and dictionaries of opera (see "Reference Sources" above) will give you a start. (For opera houses, check out the entry "Opera Houses" in Oxford Music Online (available on our "Databases" page).)

For book-length biographies, search the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • [Name]
  • [Class/group of practitioners] -- Biography.  Example: Singers -- Biography.
  • Opera companies.
  • [Name of opera company]
  • Theaters -- [Place] -- History.
  • [Name of opera house]

You'll also find relevant biographies shelved under the following call numbers:

  • Composers: ML410
  • Librettists: ML403, ML423
  • Singers: ML420
  • Conductors: ML422
  • Impressarios: ML429

Related Areas

The study of opera will lead you into many related disciplines, including theatre, the visual arts, dance, literature, and history.

These subject terms are useful for researching opera in its larger context:

  • Opera -- Political aspects.
  • Opera -- Social aspects.
  • Art and opera.
  • Psychoanalysis and opera.
  • Opera in art.
  • Opera in literature.

      Click here for additional resources in related disciplines.

      Career Guides

      These can be searched in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

      • Auditions.
      • Singing -- Vocational guidance.
      • Opera -- Vocational guidance.
      • Music -- Vocational guidance.

      Examples:

      Greene, Don. Audition success.

      Baskerville, David. Music business handbook & career guide.

      Hines, Jerome. The four voices of man.

      Miller, Richard. On the art of singing.

      Periodical: Classical singer.

       

      If you're a voice major, chances are you'll spend a large part of your professional career teaching. The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) provides support in this area.

      Subject Guide

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      Leslie McCall
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