The Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg
offers in its Mozart Libretti – Online Edition
a digital edition of the textual sources of the vocal works by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart according to academic criteria. The edition appears within the Digital Mozart Edition
, which is currently being developed by the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg in cooperation with the Packard Humanities Institute
in Los Altos, California.
Although the librettos of Mozart's operas have appeared in numerous printed editions since his lifetime, there is to date no edition devoted to the scholarly evaluation of their sources. The online edition of the Mozart librettos attempts to close this editorial gap and make the texts of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart's vocal compositions accessible to a broad public for the first time in a critical edition. Via the digital medium, the edition provides scholars, professional musicians and music enthusiasts alike with diverse possibilities to deepen their understanding of Mozart's librettos and their sources.
As an integral component of a multifaceted genre, the text of an opera draws together multiple philological and musical dimensions. Its formation is influenced by diverse sources: the actual text set to music by the composer, the original libretto and its possible models. From a linguistic perspective, the opera text lives from historical peculiarities in the literary language of its time, which on one hand no longer correspond to modern usage, yet on the other hand, are closely related to the musical interpretation. As a text set to music, it has, through its verse form, an intricate relation to the musical notation. The online edition of the Mozart librettos takes an electronic form to present the multifaceted levels of the opera texts used in the compositions of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart in all their complexity, and in accordance to academic criteria. This is something that can be achieved editorially only in part through printed editions.
As a critical-digital source edition, The online edition of the Mozart librettos, as an "open edition", differs from a strictly defined printed edition in relation to:
1. the sources considered relevant to the edition,
2. the edition forms in which the sources are presented,
3. the media involved.
Three concurrent types of sources exist in the field of the text set to music:
The actual text underlying the notes
- in extant autograph sources of the composition (scores, sketches, drafts, fragments),
- in the manuscript copies of the compositions.
The text of the libretto according to printed editions and handwritten sources created specifically for Mozart's setting.
- literary works.
The online edition of the Mozart librettos offers a critical edition of all three types of sources. All edited versions can be viewed either individually or collectively in synoptic form. This makes it possible to compare all corresponding source-related variants of the different documented versions.
For each consulted source, bibliographical data, a description of the exemplars and references to their reproductions can be accessed through links to the Mozart Libretti – Online Catalog
and the critical reports of NMA-Online
. At the same time, a critical evaluation of the sources is provided for each work: this covers an overview of the sources, the relation of each source within the tradition, and the significance of the individual source for the critical edition.
The text sources of Mozart's musical settings are published in two different forms:
- in critically edited editions (= Critical Edition),
- in diplomatic transcription (= Diplomatic Edition).
For each extant type of source (composed text, original libretto and libretto models), a critical edition with careful adaptation to modern orthography (see Editorial Guidelines/Critical Edition
, currently only German version available) is provided. All differences between the edited versions can be shown in a color-delineated synoptic representation.
Parallel to the critical edition, all consulted text sources can be displayed in a diplomatic transcription, so that it is possible to retrace every editorial decision.
Every critically edited version of the source text can thereby be consulted in direct comparison with:
2.1 the diplomatic transcription of its reference source,
2.2 the diplomatic transcription of all other text sources,
2.3 the digital reproductions of all consulted text sources so far as permitted by copyright.
In order to facilitate a direct comparison between the critical edition of every text version and the relative reference source, it is possible within the online-edition to display, parallel to every edited text, a diplomatic transcription of its reference source. In this transcription, the source text is reproduced word-for-word and to the letter, with consistent inclusion of misprints and scribal errors, plus the original orthography (compare Editorial Guidelines/Diplomatic Transcription
, currently only German version available). Any deviations in the edited text can thereby be discerned in the diplomatic transcription through color-delineation. Through this illumination, every single intervention of the editor and the nature of the editorial decision are made apparent.
Editorial decisions normally result from the consideration of other sources in addition to the reference source. Therefore, the online-edition of the Mozart librettos also offers the possibility of listing, next to a given line of the edited text, the corresponding lines of the diplomatic transcription of all further consulted text sources.
A digital reproduction of the corresponding page(s) of each source can be (so far as permitted by copyright) pulled up in addition to the diplomatic transcription of the sources. In doing so, not only can the transcription of the source be inspected; it also becomes clear which characteristics of the source (catchwords in libretto prints, syllabification in the composed text of the score, etc.) are not represented in the edition.
As a multimedia edition, the online edition of Mozart librettos offers other information that goes beyond the text edition as such:
3.1 a phonetic-metric text analysis,
3.2 the link from the edition to the score of the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe and audio recordings.
The online edition of the Mozart librettos offers a phonetic-metric analysis of the text set to music in the critical edition. Every element of the phonetic-metric analysis is marked using the modern, standard symbols of Italian metric and can be displayed or concealed individually, or in combination with other elements of the analysis.
As a nexus between the text and the musical setting, phonetic-metric text-analysis strives to provide a facultative set of tools for the musical analysis of the score, in order to facilitate in depth research of the complex relationship between the metric features of the text and its musical setting. To this aim, the online edition of Mozart's librettos also makes it possible, through its link to the NMA-Online
(and later also to the Digital Mozart-Edition
) to display the edited score parallel to the edition of the text, and to listen to different audio recordings.