small text medium text large text

Pittsburgh Opera Season 2013 - 2014

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, 1813-1901



Are these items checked out? Not to worry, the Main Library in Oakland owns 7 other CD versions and 5 additional visual presentations of the opera!


Deutsche Grammophon, 1982.

Ricciarelli, Obraztsova, Domingo, Nucci; Abbado, Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala

Decca, 1987 (1962).

Price, Corr, Vickers, Merrill; Solti, Chorus and Orchestra of the Opera Theater of Rome

Hardy Classic Video, 2003 (1966).
(DVD) M1500.V48 A55 2003x

Gencer, Cossotto, Bergonzi, Colzani; Capuana, Orchestra and Chorus dell'Arena di Verona

Decca, 2011 (2009).
(DVD) M1500.V48 A55 2011x

Urmana, Zajick, Botha, Guelfi ; Gatti, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus




Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni with English translation by Edmund Tracey
ML50.V484 A42 1980x

Includes several essays, a guide to musical themes in the opera and a side-by-side Italian and English translation.


For Further Reading


ML410.V4 B9 2008

In addition to his invaluable 3-volume set about Verdi's operas, Budden's biography of the composer is a wonderful resource. Budden offers a complete sketch of Verdi's public and private life. The chapter, "Towards Grand Opera," discusses the musical details of Aida, especially the Triumph scene in act two. Budden makes the case for Verdi as the master of grand opera- do you agree?

Edwards, Geoffrey and Ryan Edwards.
Verdi and Puccini Heroines: Dramatic Characterization in Great Soprano Roles
ML410.V4 E29 2001

This father and son team explores the female characters in the later works of two giants of Italian opera. The authors use musical examples, libretti texts and detailed plot analyses to paint a picture of each opera's heroine. The chapter about Aida reveals how the title character struggles with competing loves of her country, her father and her Egyptian prince leading to a life of emotional suffering that is only freed by death.

McCants, Clyde T.
Verdi's Aida: A Record of the Life of the Opera On and Off the Stage
ML410.V4 M34 2006

McCants explores the opera from the perspective of a well-educated opera fanatic. He discusses the creation of the work and further explores the various world premieres and alternate versions, including Elton John's musical. His book concludes with extensive personal reviews of recordings and visual presentations from 1906 to the present.

Phillips-Matz, Mary Jane
Verdi: A Biography
ML410.V4 P43 1993

Written with the full collaboration of the Verdi family, this biography explores the rich life of Verdi the composer, Italian nationalist and intensely passionate friend/husband/farmer.

The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791


Are these items checked out? Not to worry, the Main Library in Oakland owns 3 other CD versions and 4 additional visual presentations of the opera!


The Magic Flute
Chandos, 2005. (Sung in English)

Banks, Garrett, Vidal, Keenlyside, Tomlinson; Mackerras, Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Magic Flute
Deutsche Grammophon, 1997 (1964). (Sung in German)

Wunderlich, Lear, Peters, Fischer-Dieskau, Crass; Böhm, RIAS-Kammerchor, Berlin Philharmonic

The Magic Flute
Opus Arte, 2003. (Sung in German)
(DVD)M1500.M84 Z2 2003x

Hartmann, Röschmann, Damrau, Keenlyside, Selig; Davis, Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera

The Magic Flute
Metropolitan Opera, 2006. (Abridged version of opera in English)
(DVD) M1505.M9 Z32 2006x

Polenzani, Huang, Miklósa, Gunn, Pape; Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus




Seven Mozart Librettos: A Verse Translation
ML49.M83 O64 2011

by J.D. McClatchy (Libretto of The Magic Flute by Emanuel Schikaneder)


For Further Reading


Buch, David J.
Magic Flutes & Enchanted Forests: The Supernatural in Eighteenth-Century Musical Theater
ML1720.3.B83 2008

Buch's work is an important addition to the canon of books about fairy tales and their manifestation in theater and musical dramas. The last chapter deals with supernatural elements in The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. Buch discusses the good and evil characters, uses of magic and magical objects, and the role of the fairy tale as a commentary on society. Buch also provides a detailed analysis of the score to support his theories of how otherworldly elements are represented in Mozart's music.


Mozart and his Operas
ML410.M9 C253 2006

Cairns' unique biography traces Mozart's life and creative output through his operas. Cairns discusses how Mozart matures as an artist with each opera and writes about how his strength as a composer of great theater influences his instrumental works as well, particularly his piano concertos and string quartets. The chapter that highlights The Magic Flute describes Mozart's desire to fully express his love of Viennese popular theater by creating a theatrical work in German that is both funny and serious. Cairns also discusses how the opera serves as a vehicle to communicate Mozart's spiritual beliefs as a Freemason.

Chailley, Jacques
The Magic Flute Unveiled: Esoteric Symbolism in Mozart's Masonic Opera: An Interpretation of the Libretto and the Music
ML410.M9 C363 1992

Chailley's work presents the argument that Mozart's penultimate opera is essentially a Masonic ritual set to music. He first provides a background of the creation of the work, including information about Freemasonry in eighteenth-century Vienna. The latter two sections of the book detail the Masonic elements revealed in the libretto, the characters and the music.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography
ML410.M9 M4313 2007

Written during the 250th anniversary year of Mozart's death, Melograni's biography is a wonderful addition to the many volumes written about the composer. Instead of in-depth musical analyses, Melograni weaves texts of Mozart's letters throughout his narrative to create a thoroughly enjoyable account of the artist's life. This biography is a great read for the music lover or novice.

Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly, 1981-



Currently, no commercial CD or DVD releases of the opera are available. Explore recordings of Muhly's other works through an author search in the library catalog ( "Muhly Nico" and click on the "Music CD" link under Material Type.




Currently, no published libretto is available.


For Further Reading - Nico Muhly's official website
The official website for the composer provides a brief biography, a projects (works) list, a discography, press reviews, a performance calendar and the composer's personal blog.
The Nico Muhly artist page archives interviews, features and performances about/by the composer.
This brief interview was conducted around the time of the 2011 world premiere of Dark Sisters by Gotham Opera. Muhly provides insight into the creation of the work.

Paul's Case by Gregory Spears




Currently, no commercial CD or DVD releases of the opera are available.

Paul's Case
(DVD) PS3505.A87 P38 2005x

This film adaptation of Willa Cather's short story appeared on the American Short Story Collection series on PBS. The film stars Eric Roberts, Michael Higgins and Lindsay Crouse.




Currently, no published libretto is available.


For Further Reading - Gregory Spears' official website
The official website for the composer provides a brief biography, works list, audio clips, press reviews, and a performance calendar.


New York Stories, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell
FICTION New [shelved in First Floor Fiction section of the Main Library]

This volume of short stories set in New York City includes Willa Cather's Paul's Case, the story of a Pittsburgh boy who runs away to the "big city."

La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini, 1858-1924



Are these items checked out? Not to worry, the Main Library in Oakland owns 12 other CD versions and 5 additional visual presentations of the opera!


La Bohème
London, 1987 (1973).

Freni, Harwood, Pavarotti, Panerai, Maffeo, Ghiaurov; Karajan, Chorus of the Deutschen Oper Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic

La Bohème
Decca, 1999.

Gheorghiu, Scano, Alagna, Keenlyside, de Candia, D'Arcangelo; Chailly, Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro alla Scala di Milano

La Bohème
Deutsche Grammophon, 2005 (1977).
(DVD) M1500.P97 B5 2005x

Scotto, Niska, Pavarotti, Wixell, Monk, Plishka; Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus

La Bohème
Kultur, 2009 (2008).
(DVD) M1500.P97 B5 2009x

Netrebko, Cabell, Villazón, George von Bergen/Boaz Daniel, Adrian Eröd/Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow; de Billy, Symphony Orchestra and Chorus des Bayerischen Rundfunks




Puccini Librettos in New English Translations by William Weaver

(Libretto of La Bohème by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa after the novel Scènes de la vie de Bohème by Henri Murger.)
ML49.P75 W42

Includes side-by-side English and Italian and synopsis of the opera.


For Further Reading


Arnesen, Iris J.
The Romantic World of Puccini: A New Critical Appraisal of the Operas
ML410.P89 A66 2009

Arnesen's book, an intriguing work, brings a fresh view of Puccini to the table. She draws comparisons between Puccini and Wagner, even calling Puccini's operas a Rose Cycle contrasting with Wagner's Ring. In the chapter about La Bohème, the author describes the character of Mimì as the Rose-a woman devoted entirely to love who is symbolized in this opera by her beloved rose bonnet, a substitute for the flower that represents undying love. Arnesen also illuminates the differences between the characters in Murger's novel and Puccini's opera.

Berger, William
Puccini Without Excuses: A Refreshing Reassessment of the World's Most Popular Composer
ML410.P89 B46 2005

Berger's treatment is a companion piece to his works about Verdi and Wagner. His writing style is witty and educational. He writes a compelling biography of the composer and a detailed account of La Bohème with commentary about the plot and musical elements. His chapter about film music places Puccini firmly in popular culture, perhaps most memorably in the movie Moonstruck. A great read for the Puccini fan.

Budden, Julian
Puccini: His Life and Works
ML410.P89 B83 2002

Budden, most known for his treatment of the operas of Verdi, seems equally at home with Verdi's fellow countryman. A brief biography gives way to in-depth treatments of all of Puccini's operas. In the chapter on La Bohème, Budden describes the opera's creation which was quite a bumpy ride. The members of the creative team were often at odds with one another as illustrated by excerpts from various letters quoted by Budden. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the opera's musical motifs.

Osborne, Charles
The Complete Operas of Puccini: A Critical Guide
ML410.P89 O8 1982x

Osborne is the "go-to" man if you want detailed treatments of opera composers. He has also written books about the works of Mozart, Richard Strauss, Verdi and Wagner. Osborne's discussion of La Bohème begins with an account of how the work was created and premiered. The middle section discusses the plot and characters and includes an excerpt from Henri Murger's novel, Scènes de la vie de Bohème, that became the inspiration for the final act of Puccini's opera. (Murger's work was in fact the source material for the whole opera.) The last section outlines the work's musical motifs. An informative work.

Orphée by Philip Glass, 1937-



Orange Mountain Music, 2010 (2009).

Cutlip, Jarman, Saffer, MacPherson, Brennfleck, Freedman; Manson, Portland Opera Orchestra

Janus Films, 2011 (1950).
FRENCH DVD Orphee [shelved in the Foreign Films section of the Main Library]

Jean Cocteau's film, based upon his own play, is the source material for Glass' opera. The film stars Jean Marais, Marie Déa, and Maria Casarès. Cocteau's unique use of mirrors, other special effect techniques and jazz music creates a classic of French cinema. This Criterion Collection set includes a second disc with additional features.




Orphée: An Opera in Two Acts
Based on the scenario by Jean Cocteau; adaptation by Philip Glass; edited by Robert Brustein
qML50.G5253 O72 1993x

For Further Reading


Kostelanetz, Richard, editor
Writings on Glass: Essays, Interviews, Criticism
ML410.G398 W75 1999

This collection of various writings compiled with the participation of Philip Glass introduces the reader to the compositional style of the composer. Though Orphée is not among the works discussed, the third section of the book focuses on his operatic output and pieces for film and theater from 1977-1992. An extensive interview with the composer about his early musical development opens the book.

Schwarz, K. Robert
ML390.S3976 1996

Schwarz' survey of the 20th century composers who are icons of the minimalist movement, including Philip Glass, suggests that while the early works of Glass reflected this compositional style his later works did not. Schwarz argues that Einstein on the Beach begins a "maximalist" period for Glass that focuses on opera and music-theatre, including his Cocteau trilogy (Orphée, La belle et la bête, Les enfants terribles). Even Glass is quoted, "for me minimalism was over by 1974." An interesting work. - Philip Glass' official website

The official website for the composer provides a brief biography, a works list and a calendar of upcoming performances of his works. The site also features "Glass Notes" in the News section, an interactive blog, and the IBM Glass Engine in the Music section which "enables deep navigation" of over 60 works. For example, you can use filters on the engine to see/hear works based upon tempo and emotion. (Note: you will need the appropriate web browser and other software to use this part of the site.)

Explore More About Opera Online

Oxford Music Online

This resource combines the content of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, The Oxford Dictionary of Music and The Oxford Companion to Music in one place. A valid Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card is required.
This link will get you there:

This website allows you to search opera performance details of several international opera companies, including upcoming schedules. You can also find information on past performances of over 60,000 operas (from August 2010 and onward), biographies of specific singers and websites of international opera houses.

A great resource for plot synopses of operas, libretti, discographies and performance histories. Links to other opera websites are also listed.

Though YouTube is not a specific site for opera research, it really does have everything and anything as far as video and sound clips. If you use the titles of any of this season's operas in a search, you will find several archived performances from stage productions, concerts and more.