I have a new office neighbor here at Wolf Trap, just a few doors down. Thanks to generous donations, we were recently able to expand our music library, and I’m anxious to share it with this year’s WTOC members.
The library itself is a relatively recent addition to our operation, but it has grown quickly in its scope and importance. Most days I wonder how we operated without it. There are over 5,000 items in its catalogue (not strictly impressive by library standards, but a huge thing for us), and the database is a thing of beauty. A recent search for Rossini’s Barber of Seville brought up 4 different score editions, 5 audio recordings, 2 videos, the Beaumarchais play, 9 biographies of Rossini, and 21 opera programs spanning 56 years (including one from Glyndebourne in 1954.) Not to mention decades of periodicals, dozens of general opera reference books and a New Grove.
I’m an internet junkie, but the allure of the book still draws me and probably always will. I have both a Kindle and a pile of books on my bedside table. Digital libraries and searchable resources are golden, and I would not chose to live my professional life without them. But books and scores have texture, character, and (for me) a feeling of calm and substance. Am I in the last generation that will feel this way?