How to use the Database

Category: This field is for the genre of the work. If you’re looking for ballets, type “ballet” into this field. The other categories are opera, chamber opera, and operetta.

Date: The year the opera was written. If you’re looking for operas written in 1927, type in 1927. The date needs to be exact so if you’re looking at all the operas written in the 1940’s, then type in the first three numbers, 194, to get all the results.

Title: The title of the opera. For operas in multiple languages, the title will be in the original language. For example, “The Three Penny Opera” by Kurt Weill, originally in German, is titled “Die Dreigroschenoper” in the database.

Composer: The composer of the opera. I used the Oxford Music Dictionary to format all of the names. Some composers, especially from Eastern Europe and Russia have multiple spellings of their names. Double check the name with Oxford Music Dictionary if you are not getting any results.

Lastname: The last name of the composer. This field is for composers who have symbols in their names. For instance, if you type in “Lehar” in the field above, you won’t get any results because “Lehar” is actually spelled “Lehár.” To find his operas, type “Lehar” in the “Lastname” field. This field is also for composers who have multiple spellings of their names so if you’re not sure how to spell their name, try out this field before “Composer.”

Librettist: The librettist(s) of the opera. The difference between “librettist” and “text” is that the librettist collaborated with the composer on the opera, while the text is using existing text as libretto.

Text: This field is for operas that use existing text. For example, if you type in “Edgar Allan Poe” or “William Shakespeare” you will find all the operas that use their text for the libretto. Some writers like Bertolt Brecht are in both “librettist” and “text” fields.

Saxophone: This field shows what saxophones are used in the opera. The saxophones in this field are sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, and tubax. If you want to find sopranino, just type that in and you’ll see all operas that use sopranino.

Premiere: The date of the premiere. This field is important because many operas have delayed premieres, sometimes by decades before they hit the stage. The premiere does not always line up with the “Date.”

Language: The language of the opera. The languages in this field are the following: Ancient Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Swedish, Vocalise, and Yoruba.

Nationality: The Nationality of the composer. This field includes, American, English, German, Austrian, Austro-Hungarian, Italian, etc. If the composer emigrated, then they are listed as a citizen of the country they received citizenship. So Kurt Weill is listed as an “American, German born.” I used Oxford Music Online, the publisher’s website, or the composer’s own website to determine the nationality.

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