Libretto Collection of the Goethe University Added to the OBPS Index

  • April 22, 2013
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Researchers around the world are drawn to the Goethe University; a consortium of trailblazing research institutes located in Frankfurt, Germany. A prestigeous faculty of scholars together with advanced students, continually expand their canon of research. The numerous academic programs provide students with a wide variety of specialized majors, even within narrow fields, like music. These aspects of the University, combined with the 8 million-item university library, make it an prominent center of knowledge and creation.

In an effort to preserve and share their impressive collections, librarians at the University developed strategies to digitize many of their collections and have all ready made thousands of items available online through their Edocs Publications System. The Opera and Ballet Primary Source Index is pleased include the Goethe Libretto-Sammlung; 332 libretti of operas and ballets—mostly operas—for both prominent treasures and lesser-known works that have slipped from academic and performance notice. Even though the Bibliothek does not have an online reader like those used by other libraries with digitized materials, loading the pdf can arguably add more viewing control.

The libretti available are in German, in several instances, German translations of French and Italian operas, with the occasional libretto in English. Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic opera Belisario, for example, is an Italian opera, that was translated into German. These sources are valuable when juxtaposing different translations of an operas libretto. However, the undoubted “forte” of this collection is the libretti of German composers’ operas, which were revered and successful during their time, now preserved but little known today. Leo Blech, for example, was a prominent opera conductor in his day, with an impressive repertory including the works of Wagner and Verdi. He also found significant success as an opera composer. The libretto of his most popular opera Versiegelt, written by Richard Batka and Alexander Siegmund Pordes, is part of the Goethe Libretto-Sammlung.

Users should note some links in the collection appear to be broken; these items were still recorded in the index.

– Chelsea Hurst

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