Contact information

Prof. Dr. Anna Langenbruch

Institute of Music  (» Postal address)

A10-0-021 (» Adress and map )

+49 441 798-4770  (F&P

Repertory Database Historiographical Music Theater

The database gathers music histories from a vast variety of stages between the 18th and the 21st centuries. It focuses on historiographical music theater in a specific sense, i.e., on the diverse forms of music theater which explicitly address music history. A main emphasis is put on music theater that deals with musicians, who often also appear as characters in the plays. However, other musico-historical subjects are captured and made researchable as well, such as bands and ensembles, musical artifacts, events or genres. Plays that merely implicitly or in an encoded way refer to music history (e.g., opera parodies, meta music theater, or metamelodrammi) are not included in the database.

In addition to these thematic requirements, the (broadly defined) genre of music theater was considered to be an important selection criterion. In this particular case, music theater functions as a collective term for operas, operettas, musicals, dramas with music, staged concerts, story ballets, etc. Crucial in the selection process was the (verifiable) connection between music, speech and acting in the plays. Therefore, neither spoken theater without music nor tribute shows without historical storytelling or lecture concerts without acting are included.

Geographically, the main part of the included repertory is located in Europe and the USA. On the one hand, this is due to the Western-influenced concept of music theater on which most databases and reference texts we used are based as well as, on the other hand, our team members’ research foci in their particular subprojects in the Emmy Noether research group. Most of the data was collected between 2016 and 2021. An overview of the main sources can be found here

Search Database

Data fields

For each historiographical music theater play there is a title (occasionally with alternative titles) and one or more topics. The topic index allows browsing the entire thematic range of the database and filtering the data according to the topic-ID.

Where possible, we have gathered further information about the plays:

Author: Mainly in reference to music (composition, repertory, occasionally arrangement, musical direction etc.) and text (textbook, lyrics if applicable, literary source, occasionally direction etc.). The adjunct “repertoire” means that the play incorporates pre-existing music by the particular composers, singers or bands.

Year: If further performance data (such as city, institution) are given, the year refers to the first performance or the earliest performance known to us. If not, the year (or time period) of composition or the publication date are indicated.

Genre: Since the diversity of labels in the area of historiographical music theater is extremely broad, the keyword recorded here serves only as an initial classification within the repertory.

Performance location: As far as possible, the database gathers the city, institution and country, with countries following the current German denomination. The same goes for cities, as far as such a name exists in the current use of language. Otherwise, they appear in their original language. Institutions are generally listed in their original language, if necessary in Western transliteration (apart from: Japanese theater, in this case the English name used by the theaters is listed). The information on cities and countries refers to today’s allocation, regardless of the fluctuating historical geography.

Search tips

  • Please note that the search terms should not be fragmentary, though they are also searched within words. Therefore, truncation of a search term is only possible by leaving out the first or last letter(s). A search for ‘Weber’ will display results for ‘Weber’ as well as ‘Webern’, a search for ‘Mahler’ will show ‘Mahler’ as well as ‘Mahler-Werfel’.
  • Multiple terms in a search field will only provide results involving all search terms. A search for ‘Bach Johann’ will hence lead to results including Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Christian Bach, but not Wilhelm Friedemann Bach or Anna Magdalena Bach.
  • Entering terms into multiple search fields will only display results corresponding to the respective combination.
  • Selecting a term from the topic index will filter the search according to this term. If, for example, you choose ‘Piaf, Edith’ in the topic index and start an additional search for ‘Marlene Dietrich’, you will only get results on Edith Piaf including Marlene Dietrich. Consequently, if you don’t narrow down the search by applying additional terms, all results for the selected subject ‘Piaf, Edith’ will appear.
  • The advanced search allows you to specify the search according to time and place. Enter the same date in both year fields to limit the results to a specific year. If one of the year fields is left blank, the entire period before or after will be searched.


Emmy Noether research group “Music History on Stage”: Repertory Database Historiographical Music Theater, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg 2022,, accessed on: [date].

Daniel Samaga (Changed: 19 Jan 2024)  | 
Zum Seitananfang scrollen Scroll to the top of the page