Digitisation and cataloguing of the libretto collection Her of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
The collection of around 5,700 libretti, which could be purchased in 1860 by the then Court- and State Library from the painter and gentleman of independent means Christian Her (1815-1892), is one of the world's largest libretto collections. Its comprehensiveness represents a unique source for the history of opera, literature and culture in the countries of the German language area from the 17th to the 19th century. In addition to around 4,900 books of opera texts (among them i. a. the libretto of the premiere of Mozart's 'Idomeneo'), the collection also comprises over 430 oratories and around 350 ballet libretti.
So far the collection has been accessible at the Staatsbibliothek only by means of handwritten repertories or partly by means of short-title entries made within the framework of the RISM libretto project (libretti in German collections). The goal of the project is to catalogue this collection - which is as valuable as it is rare - in accordance with modern, academically up to date criteria and to digitise it in its entirety. The catalogue entries can be retrieved as of the project start via the online catalogue of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Subsequently the digital facsimiles of the libretti will be linked to the catalogue entries. The project will have its own internet presence within the framework of the virtual subject library musicology.
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