The wide world of opera resources


Whose work was influenced by which composer, musical and dramatic fashions, social and political upheavals? You need a timeline, to place operas and composers in their context. There are several different presentations of this dramatic story.  Oxford Music Online has the plain facts.  Historyworld is far more detailed, including noted singers and links to performances.  The BBC - You can spend hours reading vivid detail as the BBC presents a wonderful story of opera – up to 2010 – in illustrated panels tagged by year.  Operabase  offers a highly useful country-coloured table of how and where great composers overlap. Choose your period! (So long as it isn’t modern or English).

General information

If you or some irritating person near you wants answers to basic (or not so basic) questions there are several good sites. TheOpera101 has introductory information on many operas and composers, and a glossary. The opera pages of the NY Metropolitan Museuim of Art are a mine of history- and art-oriented essays about opera, and a chronology. Stanford Uni Opera - an amazing site -  has librettos, plots, etc of all opera and a lot about composers and singers. (Check out the extraordinary enthusiast behind it.) Operaworld is also very comprehensive with descriptive catalogues of operas, composers, singers, companies and more. It carries news and current issues and has an excellent “New to Opera?” section. Here’s their glossary of opera terms. A Brief History of Singing is an excellent historical overview. And try for the latest news and goss.  
Visit Covent Garden for extraordinary videos behind the scenes as Die Walküre  is being performed. The Met (New York) posts videos of performance segments and interviews, as well as full synopses and details of their productions. Try  Pearl Fishers. San Francisco Opera offers Discover Opera pages; and Glyndebourne provides news, interviews, podcasts, synopses and videos.
U3A course members!  Do you have a favourite resource you’d like to link in here? Email it to Lyn.

Really useful opera companies

Some offer education as well as tickets