Skip to Main Content

Opera and Musical Theater Guide: Home

Basic Reference Tools


The following titles will be useful in tracking down information about the opera and musical theater.

Stories, plots, librettos:

  • Ewen, David. Complete Book of the American Musical Theater. Stacks ML 1711 .E9 1959
  • Kobbe, Gustav. Kobbe's Complete Opera Book. Ref MT 95 .K52 1954
  • Ganzl and Lamb. Ganzl's Book of the Musical Theatre. Stacks MT 95 .G2 1989
  • Lubbock, M. H. The Complete Book of Light Opera. Stacks MT 95 .L85 1963
  • MacMurray, Jessica M. and Allison Brewster Franzetti. The book of 101 opera librettos: complete original language texts with English translations. (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 1996). Music Reference ML48 .B66 1996.

Note: A large selection of opera plot books can be found in MT 95.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias:

  • Bloom, Ken. Broadway: its history, people, and places: an encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2004). Music Reference ML102.M88|bB56 2004.
  • Ganzl, Kurt. Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Ref ML 102 .M88 G3 1994
  • Green, Stanley. Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theater. Ref ML 102 .M88 G7
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. (4 v.) Ref. ML 102 .O6 N5 1992
  • Hischak, Thomas S. Stage It With Music: An Encyclopedic Guide to the American Musical Theatre. Ref. ML 102 .M88 H6 1993
  • Hischak, Thomas S. The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia. Ref. ML 102 .M88 H59 1995
  • Moore, Frank L. Crowell's Handbook of World Opera. Ref ML 102 .O6 M6 1974
  • Selfridge-Field, Eleanor. A new chronology of Venetian opera and related genres, 1660-1760. (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2007). Music Reference ML1733.8.V4 S45 2007
  • Warrack, J. & E. West. The Oxford Dictionary of Opera. Ref ML 102 .O6 W37 1992
  • Wlaschin, Ken. Opera on Screen: A Guide to 100 years of Films and Videos Featuring Operas, Opera Singers and Operettas. Ref. ML 102 .O6 W55 1997

Browsing the Music Library's Collection

Because printed music and books are classified--i.e., grouped with similar items on the shelves--browsing can be an effective method for finding material. Look on the shelves under the following numbers.

  • 91.7 = Operas, vocal scores
  • 93.7 = Musicals, vocal scores
  • ML 1700 = History of dramatic music
  • MT 955 = Production of operas
  • Ref. ML 102. O6 = Dictionaries of opera

Finding Printed Music, Recordings of Particular Compositions, and Information


Any or all of the following methods may work:

  • Do a TITLE search in WNCLN's Library Catalog (; convert that to a WORD search to increase the number of retrievals. Use original language if known and ignore initial articles: "Traviata," not "La Traviata."
  • Do a KEYWORD search in WNCLN's Library Catalog , using the most distinctive word in title.
  • Do an AUTHOR search in WNCLN's Library Catalog
  • Do a SUBJECT search in WNCLN's Library Catalog, using plural forms of the genre.
  • Operas
  • Musicals
  • Librettos


  •  Do a SUBJECT search in WNCLN's Library Catalog, using singular form of term.
  • Opera
  • Operetta
  • Musicals--History and criticism

Basic Reference Tools (cont.), Journals and Web Sites

Production information:

  • Eaton, Quaintance. Opera Production: A Handbook. Ref. MT 955 .E25 (Note: Library does not own Opera Production II.)
  • Lucha-Burns, Carol. Musical Notes: A Practical Guide to Staffing and Staging Standards of the American Musical Theater. Ref. MT 955 .L8 1986
  • Lynch, R. C. Musicals! A Directory of Musical Properties Available for Production. Ref. MT 955 .L9 1984


  • Opera News
  • Opera Quarterly


    Online Tools for Research

    Subject Guide

    Profile Photo
    Gary Boye
    Erneston Music Library

    Appalachian State University
    Subjects: Music