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Starting points for research in music

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UCI Libraries has TONS of resources to help you watch, listen to, and read about operas from all over the world and from many different historical periods. This guide introduces some of the more important and popular electronic resources to get you started in this class. Be sure to explore around, particularly in the video database!

If you are on campus then all you'll need to do is click on one of these links and enjoy. If you're off campus then you'll need to use VPN to authenticate that you're a UCI student before you can use our electronic resources. More information is available here: 

Feel free to reach out directly to me if you have any problems or want some help finding music resources.

Scott Stone, Research Librarian for Performing Arts:

Facts, History, and Analysis

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is THE RESOURCE to find facts about Western art music like opera. Like many dictionaries/encyclopedias, you can find articles on people, places, and things related to music. Following are several pages from New Grove that will specifically help you find information for this class:

  • Important opera articles
    • A brief listing of the most important articles related to understanding the basic art forms, important places, essential people, and most popular operas, as chosen by the editors of New Grove.
  • List of operas
    • A more comprehensive list (but certainly not all) of opera articles in New Grove. It might be of particular help because it gives dates of the composers so you can quickly distinguish between operas from different time periods.


The Oxford Dictionary of Music is a good place to define basic music terms that you might not be familiar with already.

Video, Audio, and Scores

UCI Libraries offers several resources to stream videos of opera performances.

  • - Close to 200 contemporary performances of operas from all ages in HD streaming video from some of the finest opera houses all over the globe. You probably want to turn the English subtitles on by using the button at the bottom of the video player.
  • Opera in Video - Around 200 performances of operas. Performances are generally a bit older. The English lyrics will automatically display and advance on the right side of the screen. *Make sure you use the desktop/software VPN if using this resource off campus. The web VPN doesn't work well with this resource*

UCI Libraries offers several resources to stream recordings of opera performances.

  • Naxos Music Library - The largest streaming resource for Western art music! You can listen to music from the equivalent of almost 150,000 CDs. 
    • Opera playlist created by the Naxos of editors with their favorite opera recordings and operatic moments.
    • If you search in Naxos for a recording, you might want to read the pdf liner notes for that album as well. When available, you can find a link titled "booklet" to the the liner notes on the left side of the screen. This can give all sorts of great information, like the opera's synopsis, libretto in original language, and libretto in English translation.
  • Classical Music Library - Very similar to Naxos, but with different recordings. 

The library has thousands of music scores, all of which are located on the 4th floor of Langson Library. All music scores have a call number that starts with the letter "M." All full opera scores (i.e., the score shows the music for all instruments and voices) start with M1500... All reduced opera scores (i.e., all voice parts are shown, but the accompanying instruments are "reduced" so that a single piano can play the music) start with M1503...

Use UC Library Search to find scores for specific operas.

  • HINT: Use the "material type" limiter SCORES to only retrieve music scores.


Most libraries, including UCI, don't have many digital scores. One resource you can use to find legal scores online is IMSLP. It includes hundreds of thousands of scores in the public domain (which means that the music generally was composed before 1923).