Skip to main content
Select Source:

libretto

libretto (ləbrĕt´ō) [Ital.,=little book], the text of an opera or an oratorio. Although a play usually emphasizes an integrated plot, a libretto is most often a loose plot connecting a series of episodes. Characterization and emotion are suggested by the words of a libretto but are expressed by the music. The first major librettist was Ottavio Rinuccini, an Italian poet of the 16th cent. Outstanding in the 17th cent. was Philippe Quinault, and in the 18th cent. important librettists were the poet Pietro Metastasio, many of whose 50 libretti were set numerous times by major composers, Ranieri di Calzabigi, and Lorenzo Da Ponte. The 19th-century librettists of note included Augustin Eugène Scribe, W. S. Gilbert, and the composers Arrigo Boito and Richard Wagner; prominent in the 20th cent. was Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"libretto." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"libretto." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/libretto

"libretto." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/libretto

libretto

libretto (It.). Little book. The text of a vocal work, particularly opera. Author is ‘librettist’. First known was for Peri's Dafne (1594–8). Among famous librettists have been Metastasio, da Ponte, Scribe, Romani, Piave, Illica, Gilbert, Boito, Hofmannsthal, Auden and Kallman, and Myfanwy Piper. Some composers have written own libs., e.g. Wagner, Leoncavallo, Delius, and Tippett.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"libretto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"libretto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto

"libretto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto

libretto

li·bret·to / ləˈbretō/ • n. (pl. -bret·ti / -ˈbretē/ or -bret·tos ) the text of an opera or other long vocal work. DERIVATIVES: li·bret·tist / -ˈbretist/ n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"libretto." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"libretto." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto-0

"libretto." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto-0

libretto

libretto Text of an opera or operetta. From 1597, libretti were printed to commemorate performances; by the mid-18th century, public audiences used them to follow the opera's story.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"libretto." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"libretto." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/libretto

"libretto." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/libretto

libretto

libretto XVIII. — It., dim. of libro book.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"libretto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"libretto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto-1

"libretto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto-1

libretto

librettobateau, chateau, gateau, gelato, mulatto, plateau •de facto, ipso facto •alto •canto, Esperanto, manteau, panto, portmanteau •antipasto, impasto - •agitato, Ambato, castrato, esparto, inamorato, legato, moderato, obbligato (US obligato), ostinato, pizzicato, rubato, staccato, tomato, vibrato, Waikato •contralto •allegretto, amaretto, amoretto, Canaletto, cornetto, falsetto, ghetto, larghetto, libretto, Loreto, Orvieto, Soweto, stiletto, Tintoretto, vaporetto, zucchetto •perfecto, recto •cento, cinquecento, divertimento, lento, memento, pimiento, portamento, Risorgimento, Sacramento, Sorrento, Trento •manifesto, pesto, presto •concerto •Cato, Plato, potato •Benito, bonito, burrito, coquito, graffito, Hirohito, incognito, Ito, magneto, Miskito, mosquito, Quito, Tito, veto •ditto • in flagrante delicto • mistletoe •pinto, Shinto •tiptoe •Callisto, fritto misto •cogito • Felixstowe • Sillitoe

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"libretto." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"libretto." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto

"libretto." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/libretto