About this Collection
Albert Schatz (1839-1910) was a German music dealer with life-long interest in opera and its history. In 1873, when Schatz assumed ownership of the Musikalienhandlung Ludwig Trutschel Nachfolger in Rostock, Germany, he confirmed his intent to write a comprehensive history of opera through the study of primary sources. Research for the book necessitated extensive travel throughout Europe to collect libretti including many first and early Italian, German and French editions from the 17th and 18th centuries: in the end, his collection totaled 12,000 operatic and 238 oratorio and cantata libretti.
Schatz's poor health impeded the completion of his book; in 1908, he personally offered to sell his unparalleled libretto collection to Music Division Chief and friend Oscar Sonneck, who negotiated the purchase that same year. Later, after Schatz's death, the purchase of the manuscript portion of his collection, consisting of research papers and notes, was also arranged by Sonneck.
The scope of this digital presentation comprises all 12,253 Schatz libretti; the images were generated from the Library's microfilm copy of that collection.