In what's sure to be a great boon to researchers, the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera are moving their annals on line.
San Francisco already has its Performance Archive up and running. It's a work in progress, announced as a beta version. You can search by opera name, cast member, date, composer, and just about any other term you can think of. The results come back fast, and with lots of clickable links for digging deeper. Still to come in the database are photos, records of the San Francisco Opera Center, Western Opera Theater, and the Merola and Adler programs. For now, give it a good workout, and send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Met database isn't on line yet, but archivist Robert Tuggle has written about it in a series of informative postings to opera-l, the big opera mailing list. He's been working on this project for more than three years, and the results will be available to the public at the Met's Web site very soon - some time in December, he hopes.
To find his postings, go to the opera-l link above and click Search the archive. Type Tuggle in the box labeled The author's address is or contains. Type October 2004 in the box labeled Since. Click Submit.
And then keep an eye on the Met Web site.