Using this Resource
Data fields are designed reflect the content of, and contributors to, ballad operas.
This catalogue reproduces wherever possible the first full advertisement found in the 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers Digitisation Project. This provides more extensive records about a ballad opera’s first performance or publication than are currently available in secondary sources, and allows an accurate search for words within the advertisement.
To help search the database, it is helpful to know terms and old spellings used at the time. You may search the database for authors, characters, players and other entries listed in the indexes on the left menu.
In addition, to allow for changes in spelling styles over time the keyword search provides more matches than the exact search term. For example, “beg” will bring up references to beg, begs, beggar, beggars and beggar’s.
Users can search within:
- primary author
- ESTC number
- ballad opera title as published/billed
- air title
- uniform air title
- first line of air
- player/fictional character played
- subject of a musical number
- first source advertisement of a ballad opera
- venue of a ballad opera’s premiere
- date of a ballad opera’s premiere
- date published
- general notes
In addition, the catalogue shows which works never reached publication (‘performed only’) or were never staged (‘published only’). It shows which ballad operas are digitized on Eighteenth Century Collections Online, which publications include printed music, and the methods used to print the music.
The entries in the catalogue can be grouped into two distinct sets, opera production details and information about airs. As there can be over thirty airs in a ballad opera, each listed with its own composer and player, the airs are displayed separately from the opera details. With some ballad operas in the catalogue, there are no airs available.