Opera is a unique expression of the human mind and spirit - a play that communicates plot, characterization and story almost entirely through music. Unfortunately, because of restraints of time, location and income, few people have the opportunity to see operas performed on a regular basis. Public libraries are an easily accessible alternative for gaining operatic knowledge and exposure, offering the public a chance to hear, see, and develop an appreciation of opera.
This work is a two-part guide for libraries that want to assemble a comprehensive collection of operatic materials. Part I is a list of recommended operas ranging over four hundred years of operatic history and including a variety of different styles and languages. The goal of Part I is to provide recommendations for a comprehensive library collection of video and sound operatic recordings. Part II suggest books, periodicals, and online resources that could be an integral and important part of a library's opera collection. This section also discusses the care and maintenance of sound and video recordings, offers suggestions for locating hard-to-find operatic material, and explores the library?s role in sparking patron interest in opera.