Western Libraries

The Metastasio Collection

The Metastasio Collection at the UWO Music Library is an adjunct to The Opera Collection, and gathers together opera scores and libretti based on original libretti by Pietro Metastasio (1698 - 1782). While our original policy was to acquire only those Metastasian-based works performed between the years 1780 and 1830 (to support the premise that opera seria had not entirely passed out of favour by 1780), that policy was subsequently broadened to include earlier works. In fact, several titles which pre-date Metastasio have been acquired, to determine the influence of the immediate predecessors of the Arcadian movement (i.e. Fux’s Il fonte della salute and Draghi’s Il Sagrificio non impedito).

Works based on Metastasio’s libretti are scattered throughout European libraries: some 400 composers were known to have set these texts. This collection of 375 titles brings together printed editions and microfilm copies of scores and libretti to a single location in an effort to facilitate scholarly research in this area.

To see all the Metastasio-related titles held at the Music Library, one must perform two separate keyword searches in our catalogue:

  1. Metastasio Collection
  2. Metastasio and GM-AR

(The latter search is required to find those titles which were acquired as part of our Opera Collection, all of which have local Subject Headings which include the acronym "GM-AR".)

Scholars of both opera seria and the influence of Metastasio are invited to link to Dr. Don Neville’s Metastasio Database.

Metastasian libretti are also included in the Albert Schatz Collection of Opera Librettos (held at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC). The Music Library owns a copy of the Schatz libretti on microfilm. The individual titles for these libretti will not be found on the Western Libraries Catalogue, therefore users must consult the published print catalogue located in our Reference collection: ML 136.L3C36 .