Televised Opera and Musical Comedy Database

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Project History

The Televised Opera and Musical Comedy Database started as a set of records in the IMZ database, and subsequently published in Opera on Screen (IMZ: Vienna, l994). The IMZ (International Music + Media Center, Vienna), is an organization of leading broadcasters, producers and distributors of performing arts programs serving the international music/media community through an active program of screenings, competitions and related events. As the database grew in size and complexity it became apparent that the project could be more efficiently managed if based at Indiana University. In 2002 the Indiana University Digital Library Program undertook the support and administrative and technical guidance of the database. Some records in this database appear, but in abridged form, in the IMZ database.

About the Database

The database describes complete, abridged, and excerpted nationally and regionally distributed TV productions of operas, operettas, and musicals produced in the United States. Shows containing less than a scene portion or extended excerpt are not listed. Taking Carmen as an example; a complete production on Live From the Met, a half hour abridged version on Opera Cameos, and a scene on Toast of the Town would be included. An episode of The Voice of Firestone featuring only the "Toreador Song" would not. Musicals are treated similarly. In addition, the database contains a representation of performance documentaries, revues, staged or visualized oratorios and cantatas, animated musical films, plays with music, local broadcasts, international productions and co-productions with significant U.S. input, and programs of special or historic interest.

The database is an on-going research project. Records will be added and existing records enhanced as new information becomes available.

Overview of Content

Musicals presented on television can take many forms. A program described as a "TV musical" can range from a complete or adapted Broadway show or original musical written for television, to a situation comedy with a musical format. The database documents full and abridged versions of book shows with both original and borrowed scores, and a sampling of other program forms with limited musical values.

Most of the titles in the database can be viewed at archives, museums and libraries, or on home video. For programs without a home video version, it is reasonable to expect that the popularity of DVD's, supplemented by new media technology, will result in increased opportunities to see past and current productions. Also, archives constantly expand their holdings. Programs thought to be lost for decades, surface, and become accessible for screening and study.

About the Source Materials

PRINTCAT: 442 records submitted to the IMZ in 1994 and for the most part included in the printed catalog; Opera on Screen (IMZ: Vienna, 1994). Source material and paper records are filed in six black/white ring binders with green spines. Records are tabbed and organized by series e.g. NBC OPERA, OMNIBUS, LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER, CAMERA THREE etc.; or by generic classifications such as PTV SPECIALS or MET OPERA ON TV etc. Record number is random.

POCAT (Post catalog records): 223 records submitted to the IMZ after the publication of the printed catalog. Source material is filed in four black ring binders with yellow spines. Paper records are filed in a white ring binder yellow spine. Record numbers (#89000 - #89204) are consecutive with the exception of two series: VOICE OF FIRESTONE (#89206 – 89215), and OPERA CAMEOS (#90350 - #90399).

NEWCAT (Newcat records): 132 records. Number in IMZ database unknown. Source material and paper records filed in two white ring binders with blue spines. Record numbering (#90300 - #90433) is consecutive.

DLCAT (Dlcat records): More than 300 records as of 01/21/2015. Source material (no paper records) filed in two white ring binders with red spines. Numbering is consecutive starting at #90500).


Support for this project has come from a Grant-in Aid of Research and Scholarly Activity for Retired Faculty from the Indiana University Office of the Vice-President for Research, and from the Indiana University Digital Library Program.

Project Director/Compiler:
  • Herbert Seltz
Project Consultant/Editor:
  • Charles W. Peters
Cataloging Assistants:
  • Damian Iseminger
  • Amy Engelsdorfer
  • Linda Dempf
Web Interface Design:
  • Deborah Anema
  • Michelle Dalmau
  • Herbert Seltz
  • Deborah Anema
  • Priya Vaidya
  • Sufeng Zhu
  • Nergiz Cagiltay
  • Jon Dunn
Database Administration:
  • Randall Floyd
  • Nergiz Cagiltay

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