Located in the Music Library Reference Section, in MALIC, Jardine Hall room 313

The New Grove Dictionary of Opera
  REF ML102.O6 N5 (available online through Oxford Music Online - see library subject guide)
Here is a good place to begin research on operatic topics.  This 4 volume work is the only encyclopedia devoted to opera.  Like other Grove products, the bibliographies found at the ends of articles are particularly helpful.  It is also available electronically within Grove Music Online
See also a Guide to Using Grove Music Online (requires Microsoft PowerPoint software).

Opera: A Research and Information Guide
(Marco)  REF ML128.O4 M28 2001 
This is a good place to begin, when researching a topic in opera.  Contains annotations for listed sources.  A prior edition is also available in Ablah Library, 2nd floor.

Annals of Opera  REF ML102.O6 L45x
The 2nd edition of these 2 volumes cover 1597-1940.  Volume 1 presents the operas in chronological order of premier performance while volume 2 is an index.  Provided here are some basic facts (place and date) and other quick facts, when possible, of opera performances.

Who’s Who in Opera  REF ML102.O6 B68 1998
This is a guide to characters rather than performers.  This answers the questions: What opera is this character in? and What voice type is this character?  Provided here are short descriptions of characters and very brief opera synopsis.

Guide to Operatic Roles & Arias REF ML102.O6 B650 1994
This source lists information by voice type and language, by aria, by opera and by singer, to help you select repertoire. 

Guide to Operatic Duets REF ML102.O2 B6
Similar in format to the Guide to Operatic Roles & Arias listed above, this source lists information by vocal combinations and operas.

Baker’s Dictionary of Opera  REF ML102.O6 B26 2000
A biographical dictionary of opera personalities, this contains brief entries along with some helpful appendices for illuminating the context of each person in opera history.

The New Penguin Opera Guide REF ML102.O6 V55 2001
Arranged by composer, this covers their theatrical works, including operettas, Singspiels, musical theatre, etc.  Each article is comprised of a biographical introduction, an examination of well-known works, and a bibliography. 

Dictionary-Catalogue of Operas and Operettas  REF ML102.O6 T8 1967
In 2 volumes, the first lists operas with the name of the composer, his nationality and dates.  The second volume provides an index by composer.

Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians (Southern)  REF ML105.S67 1982
Find here biographical information on Afro-American and African musicians in a wide variety of music occupations throughout history.  With brief but useful bibliographies.

A Handbook of American Operatic Premieres 1731-1962 (Mattfeld)  REF ML128.O4 M3 
This is a listing by title with brief information regarding the name of the composer, number of acts, original language, place and year of the premier.  With an index by composer.

Index to Opera, Operetta and Musical Comedy Synopses in Collections and Periodicals  (Drone)  REF ML128.O4 D76  (available online through the WSU Online Catalog)
Use this to locate synopses not quickly found in other standard reference sources, such as Kobbe’s Complete Opera Book.  An electronic copy is also available as a part of the NetLibrary collection, found through the online catalog.

Opera Plot Index  (Studwell & Hamilton)  REF ML128.O4 S8 1990
Indexing a wider range of sources than the Index to Opera listed above, but not necessarily the same sources (for an example, this indexes a different edition of Kobbe’s Complete Opera Book), this also indexes other historical and/or analytical materials, bibliographical information, illustrations and musical examples.

Songs in Collections (De Charms & Breed)  REF L128.S3 D37  
Find here an index for art songs and arias, folk songs, carols and sea chanties, found in collections published from approximately 1940-1957.  When looking up the song/aria title, make sure you are looking in the correct section by verification with the table of contents listing. A second copy is available to check out from the 2nd floor of Ablah Library.

The Song Index of the Enoch Pratt Free Library  REF ML128.S3 L665 1998
This 2 volume work indexes songs in over 2000 collections, of all genres.  The 2nd volume provides an index by composer and a listing of operas, musicals, movies and etc., with their associated song titles.  This is particularly handy for its coverage of more recently published collections.

A Dictionary of Opera and Song Themes  (Barlow  & Morgenstern)  REF ML128.V7 B3 1950a 
Can’t remember that tune, but you can hum it?  This is a good place to look.  This is a listing of musical incipits for identification.  To use the notation index, transpose the theme to the key of “C” major or minor and match the letters of the notes, match the letter sequence in the back of the book, which acts as an index to the themes listed, by composer in the main portion of the book. 

A Singer’s Guide to the American Art Song 1870-1980  REF ML128.S3 V5 1993
Arranged by composer, each entry provides biographical information; a listing of works for the voice including publication information, vocal type(s) and concise desription; and a bibliography. 

Repertoire for the Solo Voice  (Espina)  REF ML128.S3 E8
This annotated guide to solo literature, covers the thirteenth century to 1970s.  A single work, bound in 2 volumes, find here sections by nationality, opera excerpts by vocal type, florid songs, traditional songs and spirituals. 

Literature for Voice (Goleeke)  REF ML128.S3 G64
This index to vocal collections is geared to assisting vocal teachers in choosing repertoire.  Volume I indexes over 60 collections published before 1984, with the key and range of each song. Volume II indexes over 70 collections published mainly between 1985 and 2000, again with key and range of each song.  Both volumes have indices by song title and composer.

Annals of the Metropolitan Opera  REF ML1711.8 .N3 M38 1989
From 1883-1985, in 2 volumes, volume one is a chronological look at the metropolitan opera season by season, listing the repertory, vocalists, and full credits for each performance.  Volume 2 is a set of tables which quantify and group together commonalities of performance, as well as an index.  This also contains many useful black and white photographs.

Kobbe’s Opera Book (Harewood)  REF MT95.K52 1997 
Contained here are lengthy synopses with lists of characters, incipits and performance history.  The 11th edition is located in the Music library, while the 11th edition, revised, is in Ablah Library reference.  Earlier editions reside in Ablah Library on the 2nd floor. 

A Short History of Opera (Grout)  REF ML1700.G83 2003
This excellent history contains many musical examples, along with an extensive bibliography.  Previous editions are available in Ablah Library on the 2nd floor.

Opera Production (Eaton)  REF MT955.E25 
This provides entries for over 500 operas include basic historical information (composer and librettist, type of opera, terse description of the type of composition, premiere, outline of acts and scenes), a brief synopsis, a listing of roles and ranges, along with choral and orchestration requirements.  This is arranged alphabetically in 2 sections of long and short operas, concluding with a composer index. 

Opera Productiton II (Eaton)  REF MT955.E252 
A supplement to Eaton’s original Opera Production, contained here are entries for over 350 additional operas, again arranged in 2 sections according to length of opera.


Updated: June 06, 2012
Rachel Crane, Music/Fine Arts Librarian