Wikipedia:WikiProject Opera/Article styles and formats

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This page contains a detailed guide to the style and formatting of opera articles and is a supplement to the Article guide page. These recommendations have been developed over the years via consensus of WikiProject Opera's members through discussions on our talk page. Like all recommendations, they should be used with common sense and if necessary adapted for the needs of particular articles.

Opera (title) articles[edit]


For stub and start class articles:

also called "Lead section"
name, language, composer, librettist, general historical and musical context
==Performance history== from premiere(s) to the present day
==Roles== possibly in tabular form giving name, description, voice type and creator of each role; see Role tables below.
==Synopsis== including noted arias formatted as in Un ballo in maschera, without title translation, or Turandot, with title translation
==Recordings== divided into audio and video (with catalogue numbers when possible). It is recommended that where possible references be provided for listings such as their appearance in books such as The Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Disc‎. It is also recommended that extensive recording lists should be made as separate pages. See Tosca discography for a model. For guidance on which recordings to exclude see Article guidelines#Recordings.
==References== Sub-sections:
*Notes in boldface (see below),
*Sources in boldface, (including ISBN when possible) and online works (including access date).
==External links== For online resources providing extra information not included in the article and/or official web sites. See WP:EL for further guidance.

For articles that are aiming at either good article or featured article status, the following extra sections are recommended:

==Context and analysis== Puts the work in context and provides a certain degree of sourced analysis.
==Recording history== Recommended for particularly well-known operas (and articles on specific composers).
==References== Footnotes for inline citations depending on which citing format is being used. Provides full details of the sources used for the article, with ISBNs where possible

Two or more sections will be created with footnotes appearing under the main heading as "Notes". They may just include author, page number where full ref. exists below. For further details, see: Shortened footnotes. The main heading of the section embraces "Notes", "Cited Sources", "Online sources" etc.


  • Notes (in boldface)
  • Cited sources (in boldface)
  • Other sources (in boldface)

Dates (general)[edit]

Opera articles use the Day-Month-Year format for indicating the dates of premieres, performances, etc.

Day is written numerically but without the use of a leading "0" before a single digit day, 1 to 9. Months are written out in full and not abbreviated. The year always uses four digits.

Dates of premieres[edit]

References may be linked to 'Year in music' pages, for example "The opera was first performed in Prague on 31 March 1928", coded as "The opera was first performed in [[Prague]] on 31 March [[1928 in music#Opera|1928]]."

The day and month should not be wikilinked; see Manual of Style (dates and numbers).

Role tables[edit]

  • Note: Over-categorization of voice types in role tables should be avoided, e.g. use tenor instead of tenore di grazia, use soprano instead of coloratura soprano. The voice types specified in the printed score should normally be the ones used in the role table. Finer distinctions and differing performance practices (if any) should be discussed in the text of the article itself.
Role Voice type Premiere cast, 2 January 1843
(Conductor: Richard Wagner)
The Dutchman baritone Johann Michael Wächter
Senta, Daland's daughter soprano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient
Daland, a Norwegian sailor bass Friedrich Traugott Reinhold
Erik, a huntsman tenor Carl Risse
Mary, Senta's nurse contralto Thérèse Wächter
Daland's steersman tenor Wenzel Bielezizky
Norwegian sailors, the Dutchman's crew, young women
Wiki code for the table above
{| class="wikitable"
![[Voice type]]
!Premiere cast, 2 January 1843<br />([[Conducting|Conductor]]: [[Richard Wagner]])
|The Dutchman
|[[Johann Michael Wächter]]
|Senta, ''Daland's daughter''
|[[Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient]]
|Daland, ''a Norwegian sailor''
|[[bass (voice type)|bass]]
|[[Friedrich Traugott Reinhold]]
|Erik, ''a huntsman''
|Carl Risse
|Mary, ''Senta's nurse''
|Thérèse Wächter
|Daland's steersman
|Wenzel Bielezizky
| colspan="3" |''Norwegian sailors, the Dutchman's crew, young women''
Multiple premieres

For a format with multiple notable premieres, refer to Don Carlos or the boiler plate below:

Role Voice type Premiere cast,
27 April 1720
(Conductor: – )
Revised version
Premiere cast,
28 December 1720
(Conductor: – )
Revised version
Premiere cast,
Day Month Year
(Conductor: – )
Wiki code for the table above
{| class="wikitable"
![[Voice type]]
!Premiere cast,<br />27 April 1720<br />([[Conducting|Conductor]]: – )
!Revised version<br />Premiere cast,<br />28 December 1720<br />(Conductor: – )
!Revised version<br />Premiere cast,<br />Day Month Year<br />(Conductor: – )

Synopsis format[edit]

Acts always use Arabic numerals: 1, 2, 3 etc., not the Roman: I, II, III

Articles such as I masnadieri or La fanciulla del West illustrate the format:

I masnadieri:

Setting: Germany, between 1755 and 1757.
===Act 1===
Scene 1: A tavern on the borders of Saxony
During a break from his studies at Dresden University, Carlo, [etc]

or from La fanciulla del West:

Time: 1849 to 1850
Place: A mining camp in the high Sierra Madre Mountains in California
=== Act 1 ===
Inside the Polka Saloon.
At the saloon, Sheriff Rance is playing solitaire, while [etc]

Line 1: In each case, the word "Act" is in bold face and forms a sub-heading of the section's title for editing purposes.

Line 2: If an act has several scenes, the scene number, then colon (:), then description of the setting follows on a separate line in italics.

If there are no scenes, a description of the setting for the act follows in italics.

Lines 3+: Text of synopsis follows.

Recordings (short style)[edit]

Krenek: Jonny spielt auf, Vienna State Opera Orchestra

Recordings (table style)[edit]

  • The layout reflects one singer per line with <br /> (line breaks) after each name. To ensure that there will be no line breaks per name, enclose the longest name with the template {{Nowrap}}: {{Nowrap|suitably long name}}.
  • "Conductor<br />Opera house and orchestra": Name(s) of house, orchestra and chorus/choral group(s) follow without line breaks
  • "Label": Type of recording (e.g. "CD", "DVD") is followed by ":" (colon), then name of releasing company, followed by <br /> (line break)
  • Catalogue number (using abbreviation "Cat:"); if available, should follow the name of the recording company
Year Cast
Opera house and orchestra
1986 Luciano Pavarotti,
Maria Chiara,
Ghena Dimitrova
Lorin Maazel,
La Scala orchestra and chorus
DVD: Image Entertainment
Cat: (catalogue number appears here)
1989 Plácido Domingo,
Aprile Millo,
Dolora Zajick
James Levine,
Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus
DVD: Deutsche Grammophon
Wiki code for the table above
{| class="wikitable"
!Cast<br />(Radames,<br />Aida,<br />Amneris)
!Conductor,<br />Opera house and orchestra
| 1986 ||{{Nowrap| [[Luciano Pavarotti]] }},<br />[[Maria Chiara]],<br />[[Ghena Dimitrova]] || [[Lorin Maazel]],<br />[[La Scala]] orchestra and chorus || DVD: Image Entertainment<br />Cat: ''(catalogue number appears here)''
| 1989 || [[Plácido Domingo]],<br />[[Aprile Millo]],<br />[[Dolora Zajick]] || [[James Levine]],<br />[[Metropolitan Opera]] orchestra and chorus ||DVD: [[Deutsche Grammophon]]<br />Cat:

Special alternative table[edit]

In special cases, where the cast list is longer than about five or six major characters or where one singer takes on several roles in one recording and several singers divide those roles in other recordings, the following example from The Tales of Hoffmann discography may be used:

1948: André Cluytens, Theatre National de l'Opéra-Comique orchestra and chorus, EMI France

Hoffmann: Raoul Jobin
Olympia: Renée Doria
Giulietta: Vina Bovy
Antonia: Géori Boué
Dapertutto: Charles Soix

Coppélius: André Pernet
Lindorf: Louis Musy
Miracle: Roger Bourdin
Nicklausse: Fanély Revoil
Frantz: Bourvil

Hoffmann: Plácido Domingo
Olympia, Giulietta, Antonia: Joan Sutherland
Coppélius, Dapertutto, Lindorf, Miracle: Gabriel Bacquier

Nicklausse: Huguette Tourangeau
Frantz: Hugues Cuénod

Wiki code for the table above
{| class=wikitable
!colspan=2|<div style="text-align:left;">1948: [[André Cluytens]], Theatre National de l'[[Opéra-Comique]] orchestra and chorus, EMI France</div>
|valign=top style="border-right:none;"|<poem>Hoffmann: [[Raoul Jobin]]
Olympia: [[Renée Doria]]
Giulietta: Vina Bovy
Antonia: [[Géori Boué]]
Dapertutto: Charles Soix</poem>
|valign=top style="border-left:none;"|<poem>Coppélius: [[André Pernet]]
Lindorf: [[Louis Musy]]
Miracle: [[Roger Bourdin]]
Nicklausse: Fanély Revoil
Frantz: [[Bourvil]]</poem>
!colspan=2|<div style="text-align:left;">1971: [[Richard Bonynge]], [[Orchestre de la Suisse Romande]],<br />{{0|1971: }}Du [[Le Brassus|Brassus]] Chorus, [[Lausanne]] Pro Arte Chorus, [[Radio Suisse Romande]] Chorus, [[Decca Records|Decca]]</div>
|valign=top style="border-right:none;"|<poem>Hoffmann: [[Plácido Domingo]]
Olympia, Giulietta, Antonia: [[Joan Sutherland]]
Coppélius, Dapertutto, Lindorf, Miracle: [[Gabriel Bacquier]]</poem>
|valign=top style="border-left:none;"|<poem>Nicklausse: [[Huguette Tourangeau]]
Frantz: [[Hugues Cuénod]]</poem>

Lists of operas by composers[edit]

The recommended table format is based on the List of operas by Rossini:

Title Genre Sub­divisions Libretto Première date Place, theatre
cambialeLa cambiale di matrimonio farsa comica 1 act RossiGaetano Rossi, after Camillo Federici and Giuseppe Checcherini 1810-11-033 November 1810 Venice, Teatro San Moisè
Wiki code for the table above
{| class="wikitable sortable"
!Title!!Genre!!Sub&shy;divisions!!Libretto!!Première date!!Place, theatre
|{{Hs|cambiale}}''[[La cambiale di matrimonio]]''||farsa comica||1 act||{{Hs|Rossi}}[[Gaetano Rossi]], after [[Camillo Federici]] and Giuseppe Checcherini||{{Hs|1810-11-03}}3 November 1810||Venice, [[Teatro San Moisè]]

This is an empty template for such tables:

Op. Title Genre Sub­divisions Libretto Première date Place, theatre Notes
nn title title title title title title title genre genre n acts librettist librettist librettist dd monthmonth yyyy place place, theatre theatre notes notes notes notes
Wiki code for the table above
{| class="wikitable sortable"
!Op.!!Title!!Genre!!Sub&shy;divisions!!Libretto!!Première date!!Place, theatre!!class="unsortable"|Notes
|nn||''title title title title title title title''||genre genre||n acts||librettist librettist librettist||dd monthmonth yyyy||place place, theatre theatre||notes notes notes notes

A specialised version of a list of operas can be seen at List of operas by Mozart and at List of operas by Handel:

Mozart operas
Köchel No. Year composed Title Type of opera Librettist Voice parts First performance details
K. 35 1767 Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots Part I

Eng: The Obligation of the First Commandment

Sacred Singspiel Ignaz von Weiser 3 soprano, 2 tenor Archbishop's Palace, Salzburg, 12 March 1767
Wiki code for the table above
{| Class = wikitable
!Köchel No.
!Year composed
!Type of opera
!Voice parts
!First performance details
|align="center"|[[K. 35|K. 35]]
|''[[Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots]]'' Part I
<small>''Eng'': The Obligation of the First Commandment</small>
|Sacred [[Singspiel]]
|Ignaz von Weiser
|<small>3 soprano, 2 tenor</small>
|Archbishop's Palace, [[Salzburg]], 12 March [[1767 in music#Opera]]
Handel operas
HWV Title Libretto Première date Première place, theatre Modern revival Notes
1 Almira (Der in Krohnen erlangte Glücks-Wechsel, oder: Alimira, Königin von Castilien) FeustkingFriedrich Christian Feustking, after Giulio Pancieri 1705-01-088 January 1705 Hamburg, Theater am Gänsemarkt 1994-06-054 June 1994, Halleschen Händelfestspiele, Bad Lauchstädt Some music lost; announced as a Singspiel but has no spoken dialogue
Wiki code for the table above
{| class="wikitable sortable"
![[Händel-Werke-Verzeichnis|HWV]]!!Title!!Libretto!!Première date!!Première place, theatre!!Modern revival!!class="unsortable"|Notes
|1||''[[Almira]]'' (''Der in Krohnen erlangte Glücks-Wechsel, oder: Alimira, Königin von Castilien'')||{{Hs|Feustking}}Friedrich Christian Feustking, after Giulio Pancieri||{{Hs|1705-01-08}}8 January 1705||Hamburg, [[Hamburg State Opera|Theater am Gänsemarkt]]||{{Hs|1994-06-05}}4 June 1994, Halleschen Händelfestspiele, [[Bad Lauchstädt]]||''Some music lost''; announced as a ''[[Singspiel]] but has no spoken dialogue

Sources and references layout[edit]

Articles may differ in their requirements and the suggested layout should be applied with common sense, particularly in the case of altering the existing layout in Featured Articles. For more on this subject see Wikipedia:Citing sources, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (layout), and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility See also this discussion for examples of various other referencing formats used in opera-related Featured articles which may be more suitable depending on the circumstances.


  • The overall heading "References" (==References==) includes a variety sub-heading titles.
  • Notes ('''Notes''') – designates footnotes or direct in-line citations above. The template {{Reflist}} appears below Notes.
  • Sources ('''Sources''') – includes specific online sources (with access date), articles, or books which appear in the footnotes (ideally with ISBN in the case of books), as well sources used to write the article but not currently cited in footnotes. Sources should be listed in alphabetical order of author, last name first.

Note: The format with a leading semicolon is no longer recommended because of compatibility issues with screen readers.

See the example of a typical format below using these citations: [1][2][3]. These example footnotes are formatted according to WP:CITESHORT.



  1. ^ Budden 1984, vol. 1, p. 55.
  2. ^ Ashbrook 1982, pp. 255-256.
  3. ^ Casaglia 2005.