Ulderico Rolandi collection

Ulderico Rolandi was an opera scholar and one of the most well-known collectors of opera librettos in the 20th century. His collection, made up of around 32,000 exemplars, was purchased by Vittorio Cini in 1956 at the suggestion of Adriano Belli and Silvio D’Amico and, in may 1957, was moved, along with Rolandi’s catalogue, to the Institute of Literature, Theatre and Opera was at the Giorgio Cini Foundation.
The collection contains librettos, some of which are quite rare, ranging from the second half of the 16th century to today. It is one of the greatest collections in existence, comparable only to that at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
The collection’s library contains works contemporary to those of the 17th- and 18th-century composers (about ten by Metastasio and works by Zeno, Du Fresne, Moniglia, Moretti, Silvani) and a few extraordinary editions: Terenzio’s Il teatro (1569), Francesco de Lemene’s Poesie diverse (1692), an anthology of plays performed in Venice in 1726, selected playful (1826) and serious (1822) texts published in Milan by the Società tipografica dei Classici Italiani, and collections of musical intermezzos.
The library also includes indexes on several cities (Modena, Reggio, Naples, Venice, etc.) and on opera in general, ranging from catalogues by Allacci, Clément-Larousse, Dassori, Wiel and Sesini to those by Salvioli and Sonneck. It resources are completed by magazine and newspaper clippings (‘Miscellanea Rolandi)’ and by files containing information on unusual aspects of music which reveal an erudite and scholarly attention for everything related to the libretto.

The Rolandi Libretti Collection was a core part of the “ECHO PROJECT, a Veneto opera network”, created in collaboration with Arcus S.p.A. from 2005 to 2008. Through cataloguing work on the data in the Online Public Access Catalogue of the Italian National Library Service (OPAC SBN) and the digitisation of the Venetian librettos according to the standards of the Italian Digital Library, the ECHO Project has made more readily available the material in the Giorgio Cini Foundation and other major Venetian institutions. The Rolandi Collection has been inventoried, restored to its original size (by excluding subsequent additions) and given modern pressmarks. The results of the ECHO Project can already partly be seen in the OPAC SBN and will be fully available as soon as the ICCU (Central Institute for a Single Catalogue) has completely loaded the catalogue into the network.


Centro studi per la ricerca documentale sul teatro e il melodramma europeo

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