The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians has an excellent introduction to Opera. In addition to basic information about the historical development of the art form, they provide many links to scholarly definitions and introductions to key concepts in opera, such as libretto and aria; different forms of opera, like Opera buffa and Opera seria; alongside biographies of important composers like Vincenzo Bellini, Giacomo Puccini, and Giuseppe Verdi, as well as librettists like Pietro Metastasio and Lorenzo Da Ponte. It also includes information about individual operas, including their stories, how they historically fit into music history, and how they fit into society. Examples include Aida, Carmen, Salome, and Wozzeck.
You might also be interested in a brief operatic timeline, which includes brief items on 100 opera premiers throughout history with a link to their complete articles with all the information you might find helpful.
The above links are just the tiniest bit of information available in New Grove. If you have questions related to opera, there's a good chance you can find an answer there. Search and explore!
Other than the performance videos in the above databases, you might also be interested in several documentaries that explore the making of an opera, such as:
To discover Black composers, the International Dictionary of Black Composers is a MUST. It's divided into two volumes, and because it's online, it's easy to do a keyword search for "opera" to quickly discover a wide range of Black composers who have worked in this medium.
The streaming, two-part documentary Aida's Brothers and Sisters: Black Voices in Opera, is available to watch from the following links:
Looking for more books? Check out some of these pre-set searches about:
Off-campus? Please use the Software VPN and choose the group UCIFull to access licensed content. For more information, please Click here
Software VPN is not available for guests, so they may not have access to some content when connecting from off-campus.