Talk:List of historical opera characters

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Voceditenore's edits[edit]

Apart from polishing up the prose, I have:

  • unbolded the title in the lead per this when List of operas set in the Crusades was a DYK
  • removed "notable" from the opening line. If the historical figure has an article, they are notable. It's highly unlikely that non-notable red-links will be added here.
  • changed the Table of Contents for the list to a compact horizontal style to improve sightlines and ease of navigation.
  • added an image
  • added three bits of "further reading" in case the reader wants to pursue the subject (also adds credibility to the assertions about deviations from historical accuracy in the intro)
  • added the Navigation template for other opera-related lists. Contrary to usual practice, I put it at the end of the introduction, since readers are unlikely to find it at the bottom of the page (but feel free to remove it if it seems iintrusive)

Comments? Voceditenore (talk) 09:57, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

First of all, thanks for your interest and contributions, Voceditenore. I was wondering about the positioning of the Nav template and Further Reading, but I can see your rationale. Looking good. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 11:29, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I've sort of talked myself out of putting the Opera Lists nav template at the end of the introduction. It's kind of visually intrusive [1]. I've moved it to bottom of the article, but please move back to the original position if preferred, or even leave it out if it's too byte-hungry. Best, Voceditenore (talk) 12:56, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the navbox should go at the end of the article as in other pages. --Kleinzach 23:51, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


The page is currently 92 kilobytes long. Is it likely to grow? The length doesn't affect issues of readibility as it's a list rather than connected prose, but it can affect loading time. If splitting into two lists is desired the recommended title per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (long lists) would be:

The TOC template can be adjusted to accomodate this and have a link to the second half of the list, but the process looks very fiddly. See Template:CompactTOC8. Voceditenore (talk) 11:02, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Is it likely to grow? This being Wikipedia, one can only answer, "Yes". But to what extent? I'd like to think I've been pretty thorough in my first cut and have captured the great majority of names. But we know, for example, that Alexander the Great appears in over 70 operas, of which we currently list only a handful. Will most of the others ever have articles written about them? Probably not; if they're not notable enough to have been written about already, are they likely to be written about in the future? Some will, undoubtedly, but all 70? Well, you never know what's ahead. I think the size is manageable at the moment, but we need to keep an eye on it. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 11:28, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with you. In any case, if a whole bunch of articles get written on operas based on Metastasio's libretto, Alessandro nell'Indie, they could be usefully listed in an article about the actual libretto which could then be linked from the entry here. We already have five articles on Metastasio libretti. Voceditenore (talk) 11:57, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm against splitting this unless it grows very much larger. For most people it will be more convenient as one page. BTW I was sceptical about the usefulness of this list when I first saw it, but looking at it I think it's an impressive effort. (Getting the various ancients nailed down is helpful.) --Kleinzach 23:43, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

I missed this comment. Thanks, Kleinzach. (JackofOz =) (talk) 02:39, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Unencyclopedic style in the introduction[edit]

Re this current addition to the intro:

... If you know of any other operas or operettas containing historical characters, please add the details.

Meta-comments in the lead (or anywhere else in the article) which directly address the reader as "you" and ask them to edit are strongly discouraged by the Wikipedia Manual of Style. They are unencyclopedic and make no sense when the article/list is republished on other sites, in print, on a CD-rom etc. See Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid and Wikipedia:Words to avoid for more about this. I'd suggest removing this completely and adding it here on the talk page where it would be appropropriate.

I'm also not sure why the lead needs to state explicitly that the list is incomplete. Putting the word "incomplete" in italics for emphasis is definitely not appropriate. I'd suggest leaving out the word completely and trusting the reader's intelligence. Alternatively add a hatnote: {{Dynamic list}} or the more generic {{expand list}}.

Note also that per the Manual of Style, paraphrases of the title should not be bolded (as is currently the case in this list). See here. If the hatnote is used, perhaps rewrite the first sentence along these lines?...

Historical figures have appeared as characters in opera or operetta from the earliest examples of the art form until the present day. Historical accuracy in such works has often been subject to the imperatives....

Voceditenore (talk) 12:09, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I managed to miss this till just now, Voce.
Many other WP lists state that they're incomplete and invite users to add to them. But if the MOS says not to do that, I'm happy to comply.
Happy with your suggested rewording (I added a missing "of"). -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 08:11, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Arthurian characters[edit]

Just to note I've removed a few Arthurian characters (Lancelot, Merlin, Perceval) whose origins are literary rather than historical. As far as I'm aware, the only Arthurian character with any reasonably solid basis in historical fact is King Arthur himself.

On the other hand, I'm going to add Tannhäuser, who you might expect to be fictional given the legend that inspired Wagner's opera, but who really existed. Cheers. --Folantin (talk) 11:00, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

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Biblical figures[edit]

When I created this article, I arbitrarily but not unreasonably decided that "For the purposes of this list, Biblical characters are generally taken to be fictional, unless there is clear evidence of their historicity". This seems to have an implied consensus.

Well, I've just had my attention drawn to List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources. There must be more than a few people there who've appeared in operas. More article fodder for anyone who's keen to do some research. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 20:02, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

I find the recent move of this article from List of historical opera characters to Historical operas based on real-life persons baffling. "This is a list of historical figures who have been characters in opera or operetta." is the 1st sentence. The list is clearly not about operas, but about opera characters, some quite minor in the work. I suggest to move it back. This page move was accompanied by the move of the Category:Operas based on actual events to Category:Historical operas which seems not an improvement to me. The term "historical opera" is much more vague than "Operas based on actual events" and it fits more consistently with the other members of Category:Operas by source. Lastly, that category move was accompanied by adding Category:Grand operas to Category:Historical operas which seems unwarranted and confusing, or downright wrong – random pick: Oscar (opera) a grand opera? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:05, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

I echo all your comments, Michael. I've moved it back, and ask User:Mad Hatter to discuss the change here if he wishes to pursue it further. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 05:16, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Hello guys. I want to appologize for abruptly moving the page, but I wanted to create ambivalency and correspondancy with the historical fiction article, that me and several other people are editing rigorously and tirelessly these last couple of months. Of course you are free to object, but that was my main reason to do it. I am very sorry to interfere, and probably the move wasn't very good, but this list is one of the few of historical operas, corresponding with historical fiction and the list of historical fiction by time period.
All the best and kindest regards: The Mad Hatter (talk)

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