Italian Opera in Brussels

Italian opera is unmissable in music history and also in musical life. Almost every opera house programs Italian opera yearly, from baroque to romantic, and sometime even more recent works. Rossini’s overture to William Tell and Verdi’s Slaves’ Chorus resound in our collective memory, but these few popular tunes are only the tip of the iceberg of a musical genre that, after more than four-hundred years, is still alive and well.

The library of the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel has a fascinating collection of Italian opera from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Opera from the 18th century particularly well represented or which there are some unique works. These mostly come from the collection of the Belgian tenor and singing teacher Jules De Glimes (1814-1881). His former collection contains not only many manuscripts of complete operas, but also of individual arias. There are also many printed opera scores in the collection as well. The library’s opera collection is enriched by almost 6,000 libretti and a small collection of iconography depicting composers and singers. 




Until 1950