All Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations will be closed on Monday, September 1.
small text medium text large text

Opera Resources

About the Music Collection

The Music Collection of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) has one of the outstanding public library music collections in the United States, with close to 85,000 books and scores; 30,000 recordings; 400 periodical, newsletter and serial titles; an expansive video and DVD collection; online sheet music; online databases for research and listening to music; and numerous special files and indexes that cover all aspects of music, including material related to music in the Pittsburgh area.

About the Opera Collection

Over 3,000 opera scores: piano/vocal scores, orchestral scores, study scores, opera excerpts for voice and piano, and opera excerpts arranged for other instruments.

Over 1,300 opera CDs: full operas and operatic excerpts.

Over 600 DVDs and videos of staged operas, film adaptations of operas and concerts of operatic excerpts.

Plus a digital piano to preview scores after you have browsed our shelves for the music you need.

Browse the shelves

Music scores are available as Printed Scores or as Music Scores Online. Our collections use both the Library of Congress classification (materials received after 1973) and the Dewey Decimal classification (materials received before 1973). The "q" in the call number designates size and shelving location.

Printed Scores

Library of Congress Call Numbers ("q" indicates an oversized score)

 (q) M1500    Orchestral scores, complete operas 
 (q) M1503    Piano/vocal scores of complete operas 
 (q) M1505    Opera excerpts, original or arranged accompaniment 
 (q) M1507    Opera excerpts with piano accompaniment

Dewey Decimal Call Numbers
(Dewey books and scores, with or without an "M," are interfiled)

 (q) (M)782.1   Opera (English and American) 
 (q) (M)782.2   Wagnerian Opera 
 (q) (M)782.3   Other German Opera 
 (q) (M)782.4   French Opera 
 (q) (M)782.5   Italian Opera 
 (q) (M)782.56   Spanish Opera 
 (q) (M)782.57   Russian Opera 
 (q) (M)782.6   Music Theatre, Opera Comique 
 (q) (M)782.7   Opera Bouffe 

Music Scores Online

See Music Scores Online under Databases

Librettos and Books about Opera

Library of Congress Call Numbers ("q" indicates an oversized book)

 (q) ML48   Opera librettos, collections, two or more composers or authors
 (q) ML49  Opera librettos, collections of one composer or author
 (q) ML50  Opera librettos, separate works
 (q) ML102.O6  Opera dictionaries and encyclopedias
 (q) ML128.04  Operas, bibliographies
 (q)ML156.4.O46  Operas, discographies
 (q) ML158.6.O6  Operas, videographies (video catalogs)
 (q)Ml 410  Biographies, individual composers
 (q) ML1700  Operas, history and criticism, general works
 (q) ML 1702-1706   Operas, history and criticism, by time period
 (q) ML1710-1751  Operas, history and criticism, by region or country
 (q) ML 1850  Comic opera
 (q) ML1900  Operetta
 (q) ML1950  Ballad opera, singspiel, zarzuela, etc.
 (q) MT95  Operas, analysis and appreciation (includes synopses); two or more composers 
 (q) MT100  Operas, analysis and appreciation, one composer
 (q) MT955  Operas, production (directions, costume, scenery, etc.)
 (q) MT956  Operas, performing (singing, acting, vocal coaching, etc.)

Dewey Decimal Call Numbers
(Dewey books and scores, with or without an "M," are interfiled)

 (q) (M)782.1  Opera (English and American)
 (q) (M)782.2  Wagnerian Opera
 (q) (M)782.3  Other German Opera
 (q) (M)782.4  French Opera
 (q) (M)782.5  Italian Opera
 (q) (M)782.56    Spanish Opera
 (q) (M)782.57  Russian Opera
 (q) (M)782.6  Music Theatre, Opera Comique 
 (q) (M)782.7  Opera Bouffe

Please note that a few general books about opera are found in the 782s (no number after the decimal point).

Sound Recordings

Sound recordings are available as CDs or to Listen Online. Some historical recordings can also be found on LP and other formats.

CDs

Most opera recordings are found in the CD call number area, "Op." Recordings in this area include full operas, operatic excerpts (with singers or orchestral excerpts only), aria collections, recitals, and concerts. Recordings are arranged alphabetically by the composer’s last name (first three letters) and/or the artist’s last name (e.g. a disc of opera arias by Placido Domingo) and then in accession number order. For example, operas by Puccini would have a call number of “COMPACT DISC Op Puc #___ .” A few compact discs with opera selections (e.g. a singer’s recording with art songs and arias) may be found in the call number area, “Vo,” Vocal Music.

Listen online

See Listen online under Databases

DVDs and Videos

We have two call number systems for our DVDs and videos. You may browse:

VIDEO Mus O This designation is followed by the first 3 letters of the opera’s or concert’s title. The section is alphabetical by title. 
(DVD) M1500 Performances of complete operas (in order by composer)
(DVD) M1505
(DVD) M1507
Opera excerpts in recital and concert with soloists, choruses, etc.

Search the Catalog

Below are examples of useful subject headings for searching in "The Catalog." See "Catalog Tips for Music" for further help on searching.

Scores

Librettos and Other Books

*For libretto searches, use the subject search for browsing. If you are looking for a particular opera’s libretto, use a Title Search in this format: “name of opera” libretto. For example, “Nozze di Figaro libretto.” Please note you will get the best results using the title of the opera in the original language and by eliminating initial articles.

Sound Recordings

The Subject heading, “operas,” combined with the limit function of “Music CDs” will allow you to browse various recordings in the Catalog. For a more specific search by composer, you can use the keyword search string, “last name of composer and operas,” and again, limit to “Music CDs.” To search by title of an opera, use a Title search and limit to “Music CDs.” For example, “Barbiere di Siviglia.” Please note you will get the best results using the title of the opera in the original language AND by eliminating initial articles (e.g. “Nozze di Figaro” or “Contes d’Hoffmann”).

DVDs and Videos

The Subject heading, “operas,” combined with the limit function of “Videos” or “DVDs” (or both, just use the Shift key to highlight) will allow you to browse in the Catalog. For a more specific search by composer, you can use the keyword search string, “last name of composer and operas,” and again, limit to “DVDs,” “Videos,” or both. To search by title of an opera, use a Title search and limit to “DVDs,” “Videos,” or both. Again, you will get the best results using the title of the opera in the original language AND by eliminating initial articles (e.g. “Nozze di Figaro” or “Contes d’Hoffmann”).


Periodicals

The Carnegie Library subscribes to the following opera periodicals. These can only be used in the library. Back issues of these titles are available.

Opera America (U.S., 2007 to date)
Quarterly. Publication of the professional organization of the same name. Trends and issues in the opera industry are covered, but the articles about specific productions and companies are quite interesting for opera lovers. See Web Resources for their website.

Opera News (U.S., 1941 to date)
Monthly. Publication of the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York. This magazine is the “granddaddy,” so to speak of American opera periodicals. Articles profile singers, opera companies, librettists, directors, etc. Historic and current productions are discussed. Full schedules of performances throughout the United States are listed and critics review productions, recordings, books and DVDs/videos.

Opera Quarterly (U.S., 1984 to 2007)
Quarterly. A scholarly publication from Oxford University Press that features essays/articles by researchers in the opera field.


Databases

Listen online

Remote access with a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card.

Classical Music Online (listen to classical music online)

DRAM Online: Digital Recordings of American Music (scholarly resource of recordings, including liner notes and essays) Main Library access only. Naxos Music Library (listen to classical, jazz and world music online.)

Music Scores Online

Remote access with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card; limited access in CLP Main Library, Music, Film, and Audio Department.

Naxos Music Library: Sheet Music (view and download classical sheet music)

Music Research

Index to Printed Music (Citations for individual pieces of classical music printed in standard scholarly editions.) Main Library use only.

JSTOR (Full-text archives of many core scholarly journals, particularly in the humanities, social sciences & music.) Library use only.

Music in Print (lists currently available printed music) Main Library use only.

Music Index (citations to articles appearing in music periodicals back to 1979) Remote access with a CLP card.

Oxford Music Online (Includes the Oxford Dictionary of Music, Grove Music Online, and the Oxford Companion to Music) Remote access with any Allegheny County library card.


Web Resources

Local Opera Companies: Pittsburgh has a wonderful music scene, and opera is no exception. Check out Pittsburgh Opera (www.pittsburghopera.org), Opera Theater Summerfest (otsummerfest.org) and Undercroft Opera (www.undercroftopera.org).

Opera America (http://www.operaamerica.org/): The companion website to the journal. The site provides information for educators and opera aficionados, including online courses, and resources for individuals who work for opera companies as administrators and artistic staff. Job postings for opera companies and guides for works by North American composers and operas for children are also included.

Operabase (http://www.operabase.com/index.cgi?lang=en): Information about opera companies and their schedules, past performances of over 32,000 operas (2006 and onward), and biographies of specific singers.

YouTube (www.youtube.com): This great website of “everything but the kitchen sink” is a way to search for video footage of stage performances and concerts of your favorite opera singers.


Hours/Contact Us

Monday-Thursday 10 AM - 8 PM
Friday-Saturday 10 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday 12 -5 PM

Music/Film & Audio, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
4400 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-622-3105
musicdept@carnegielibrary.org

Updated 7/09