Opera Composers

Explanatory Notes and Abbreviations

The reference index of opera composers and their works is intended to be readily accessible in a multilingual environment. The information provided obeys the following formats:


When a more detailed page exists, either on OperaGlass or elsewhere, for a composer, only the common form of the composer's name is given as a hypertext link, along with the year of birth (and death as appropriate) in parentheses. More detailed information will be found in the linked page, generally obeying the same rules and formats as the index.


Family name, followed by complete given name. Elements of the composer's given names not normally used are place in parentheses, thus: Cherubini's full name was Maria Luigi Carlo Zanobio Salvatore Cherubini, but he was and is commonly known as Luigi Cherubini.

Alternate spellings or names are placed in brackets, thus:

Pier Francesco Cavalli's first name, seldom used, was sometimes spelled Pietro; he was also known at times by the name Caletti (his birth name; he took the name of his protector) or Bruni, an alternate name used by his family. Cross references to alternate family names or spellings are provided when they would be far apart in the alphabetical index. Bracketed spellings are not necessarily deprecated.

Spellings generally follow those adopted by the composers themselves as much as possible. G. F. Handel is used in preference to G. F. Händel as that was the composer's final usage. Accents and diacritical marks are used to the extent they are supported in the ISO 8859-1 Western European character set: thus Leos Janácek includes the accented a but leaves out the proper diacritical marks on the s and c. Transliterations from Cyrillic and Greek generally follow standard rules, regardless of common usage, thus Chaikovsky is preferred to the variant forms normally used in English, French, German, Italian, etc. Again, cross-references are provided as appropriate.

Vital Dates

Dates and places of birth and death are provided as accurately as possible. Dates are given in the form Day.Month.Year, e.g. 15.10.1582 for 15 October, 1582 AD (ce). Baptismal and interment dates are preceded by an asterisk. When only the month and year are known or only the year is known the dates are in the form Month.Year and Year, respectively. Uncertain days, months, or years are each followed by a question mark. Sets of possible dates are separated by slashes (/). (In some cases, slashes between adjacent dates are used for an event occurring precisely at midnight, e.g. the birth of Charles Harriss.)

Lists of Operas

All stage works that might reasonably be considered operas are included. Ballets, incidental music to spoken dramas, film scores, musicals, pantomimes, school plays, and vaudevilles are not included, but ballad operas, operettas, zarzuelas, puppet operas, masques, serenatas, pastorales, and divertimenti are. Cantatas and oratorios are generally excluded unless they are frequently staged. Lost works are included, but usually not those of doubtful authenticity. The note [lost] indicates that neither the libretto nor the music are known to exist, possibly excepting fragments. In questionable cases, the rule is to include a work in the general index if there is no individual page devoted to the composer. Individual composer pages may include a larger class of works and specify their genres more precisely. Works which were or may have been joint compositions or were completed by others have the other composers mentioned in brackets following a "+" sign after the premiere information; [?] signifies that there is doubt as to whether the listed work was by the composer in question.


Full original-language titles, including subtitles as appropriate, are given. When the opera is or was known under another name or names in its early history the alternatives are given in brackets following the premiere information. The principal title is the definitive one when known (e.g. as published), not necessarily the title under which the work was first given. Names of included titled intermezzi are denoted by asterisks. Substantial revisions are given separate entries with a note naming the source when retitled. When there was more than one distinct opera of the same name by a particular composer, the identifying dates of the sources of the revisions are given to avoid ambiguity (e.g. Jommelli). Capitalization rules follow those of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians:
  1. The first word of a title is always capitalized unless it was specifically intended to be in lower-case in the original title
  2. All "important" words are capitalized in English-language titles
  3. All nouns are capitalized in German-language titles
  4. All proper nouns are capitalized in other titles
Untitled works or works for which the titles are unknown are listed NT. An entry of the form where n is a number means the composers in known to have composed n other operas besides those listed.


Dates of premieres are given in the same format as vital dates; the following abbreviations are used when only the approximate date of the premiere is known: Gregorian calendar dates are generally used [for some events in England and its colonies prior to 1756 and Russia prior to 1918, old-style Julian calendar dates may be used if the sources are not clear]; if there is a possibility of confusion the abbreviation OS is used for Julian calendar dates.

Operas not known to have been performed are listed "np" with the (approximate) dates of completion. When there is some uncertainty as to whether a performance was the actual premiere, or whether the opera in question was the one performed, the entire entry is preceded by a question mark.

Concert or broadcast premieres are denoted with an asterisk (*) following the name of the location or network; subsequent stage premieres are listed additionally.

Place Names

Names of European and American sites are given in the languages now spoken in those places, transliterated as necessary; other place names (e.g. Cairo, Jerusalem, Tokyo) are given in English. For places whose names have undergone changes unrelated to changes of official language, the names are given as appropriate for the times of the events (e.g. Königsberg rather than Kaliningrad prior to 1945, but Brno rather than Brünn always). For convenience, here is a table of common place name translations:
Athinai Athen Athens Atenas Athènes Atene
Brussel Brüssel Brussels Bruselas Bruxelles Brusselle
Firenze Florenz Florence Florencia Florence <->
København Kopenhagen Copenhagen Copenhague Copenhague Copenaghen
Lisboa Lissabon Lisbon <-> Lisbonne Lisbona
London <-> <-> Londres Londres Londra
Milano Mailand Milan <-> Milan <->
Moskva Moskau Moscow Moscú Moscou Mosca
München <-> Munich Munich Munich Monaco
Napoli Neapel Naples Nápoles Naples <->
Paris <-> <-> <-> <-> Parigi
Praha Prag Prague Praga Prague Praga
Roma Rom Rome <-> Rome <->
Sankt Peterburg
Sankt Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Santo Petersburg
Saint Pétersbourg
San Pietroburgo
Torino Turin Turin Turin Turin <->
Venezia Venedig Venice Venecia Venise <->
Wien <-> Vienna Viena Vienne Vienna


For certain major cities with many theaters which have been the sites of important opera premieres, the names of the theaters are included in the information about the premieres. The following abbreviations are used:

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28 Nov 2009