Librettowikipedia
A libretto (lit. "booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical.
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Opera

operaopera singeroperas
"booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The French writers' duo Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy wrote a large number of opera and operetta libretti for the likes of Jacques Offenbach, Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet.
Such a "work" (the literal translation of "opera") is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costumes, and sometimes dance or ballet.

Musical theatre

musicalmusical theatremusicals
"booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical.
The book or script of a musical refers to the story, character development and dramatic structure, including the spoken dialogue and stage directions, but it can also refer to the dialogue and lyrics together, which are sometimes referred to as the libretto (Italian for "little book").

Pietro Metastasio

MetastasioPietro MetastasioMetastasian
Metastasio (1698–1782) (real name Pietro Trapassi) was one of the most highly regarded librettists in Europe.
Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym of Pietro Metastasio (3 January 1698 – 12 April 1782), was an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.

Operetta

operettaoperettasoperatta
"booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The French writers' duo Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy wrote a large number of opera and operetta libretti for the likes of Jacques Offenbach, Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet.
Normally some of the libretto of an operetta is spoken rather than sung.

Eugène Scribe

ScribeEugène ScribeEugene Scribe
Eugène Scribe was one of the most prolific librettists of the 19th century, providing the words for works by Meyerbeer (with whom he had a lasting collaboration), Auber, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi.
Augustin Eugène Scribe (24 December 179120 February 1861) was a French dramatist and librettist.

Lorenzo Da Ponte

Da PonteLorenzo Da PonteNational Theatre
Another noted 18th-century librettist was Lorenzo Da Ponte, who wrote the libretti for three of Mozart's greatest operas, as well as for many other composers.
Lorenzo Da Ponte (10 March 174917 August 1838 ) was an Italian, later American opera librettist, poet and Roman Catholic priest.

Giacomo Meyerbeer

MeyerbeerGiacomo MeyerbeerMeyerbeer, Giacomo
Eugène Scribe was one of the most prolific librettists of the 19th century, providing the words for works by Meyerbeer (with whom he had a lasting collaboration), Auber, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi.
These were employed in the context of sensational and melodramatic libretti created by Eugène Scribe and were enhanced by the up-to-date theatre technology of the Paris Opéra.

Henri Meilhac

MeilhacHenri Meilhac
The French writers' duo Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy wrote a large number of opera and operetta libretti for the likes of Jacques Offenbach, Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet.
Henri Meilhac (23 February 1830 – 6 July 1897) was a French dramatist and opera librettist.

Gioachino Rossini

RossiniGioachino RossiniGioacchino Rossini
Eugène Scribe was one of the most prolific librettists of the 19th century, providing the words for works by Meyerbeer (with whom he had a lasting collaboration), Auber, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi.
Rossini moved to Paris in 1824 where he began to set French librettos to music.

Richard Wagner

WagnerRichard WagnerWagnerian
Richard Wagner is perhaps most famous in this regard, with his transformations of Germanic legends and events into epic subjects for his operas and music dramas.
Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works.

Arrigo Boito

BoitoArrigo BoitoArrigo Boïto
Arrigo Boito, who wrote libretti for, among others, Giuseppe Verdi and Amilcare Ponchielli, also composed two operas of his own.
Arrigo Boito (24 February 1842 10 June 1918) (whose original name was Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito and who wrote essays under the anagrammatic pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio), was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, librettist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi's operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele.

Les Troyens

The TrojansLes Troyens à Carthageles Troyens
Hector Berlioz, too, wrote the libretti for two of his best-known works, La Damnation de Faust and Les Troyens.
The libretto was written by Berlioz himself from Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid; the score was composed between 1856 and 1858.

Wozzeck

WozzeckBerg: Wozzeckopera of the same title
Alban Berg adapted Georg Büchner's play Woyzeck for the libretto of Wozzeck.
He adapted the libretto himself, retaining "the essential character of the play, with its many short scenes, its abrupt and sometimes brutal language, and its stark, if haunted, realism..."

Lyrics

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(This has often been the case with American popular song and musicals in the 20th century, as with Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's collaboration, although with the later team of Rodgers and Hammerstein the lyrics were generally written first.)
The words to an extended musical composition such as an opera are, however, usually known as a "libretto" and their writer, as a "librettist".

Oratorio

oratoriooratoriosoratorium
"booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical.
They began to publish the librettos of their oratorios as they did for their operas.

Porgy and Bess

The Gershwins' Porgy and BessPorgy & BessPorgy andPorgy and Bess
Much of the recitative of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, for instance, is merely DuBose and Dorothy Heyward's play Porgy set to music as written – in prose – with the lyrics of the arias, duets, trios and choruses written in verse.
Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera by the American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin.

Georges Bizet

BizetGeorges BizetGeorge Bizet
The French writers' duo Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy wrote a large number of opera and operetta libretti for the likes of Jacques Offenbach, Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet.
The challenge was to set the one-act libretto of Le docteur Miracle by Léon Battu and Ludovic Halévy.

Giacomo Puccini

PucciniGiacomo PucciniPuccini’s
Some composers, such as Mikhail Glinka, Alexander Serov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Puccini and Mascagni wrote passages of music without text and subsequently had the librettist add words to the vocal melody lines.
Puccini and Fontana agreed to collaborate on an opera, for which Fontana would provide the libretto.

Tannhäuser (opera)

TannhäuserTannhauserElisabeth
A famous case of the latter is Wagner's 1861 revision of the original 1845 Dresden version of his opera Tannhäuser for Paris.
Wagner wrote the prose draft of Tannhäuser between June and July 1842 and the libretto in April 1843.

Ludovic Halévy

HalévyLudovic HalévyL. Halévy
The French writers' duo Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy wrote a large number of opera and operetta libretti for the likes of Jacques Offenbach, Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet.
During this period, they wrote the libretto to Carmen but it was a sideshow to their other work.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

MozartWolfgang Amadeus MozartW. A. Mozart
Another noted 18th-century librettist was Lorenzo Da Ponte, who wrote the libretti for three of Mozart's greatest operas, as well as for many other composers.
Around the end of 1785, Mozart moved away from keyboard writing and began his famous operatic collaboration with the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Pelléas et Mélisande (opera)

Pelléas et MélisandeMélisandePelléas and Mélisande
In some cases, the operatic adaptation has become more famous than the literary text on which it was based, as with Claude Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande after a play by Maurice Maeterlinck.
The French libretto was adapted from Maurice Maeterlinck's Symbolist play Pelléas et Mélisande.

I, Don Quixote

The libretto of a musical, if the musical is adapted from a play (or even a novel), may even borrow their source's original dialogue liberally – much as Oklahoma! used dialogue from Lynn Riggs's Green Grow the Lilacs, Carousel used dialogue from Ferenc Molnár's Liliom, My Fair Lady took most of its dialogue word-for-word from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, Man of La Mancha was adapted from the 1959 television play I, Don Quixote, which supplied most of the dialogue, and the 1954 musical version of Peter Pan used J. M. Barrie's dialogue.
Written by Dale Wasserman, the play was converted by him ca. 1964 into the libretto for the stage musical Man of La Mancha, with songs by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion.

List of opera librettists

*List of opera librettists
This is an incomplete list of authors who have written libretti for operas.

Four Saints in Three Acts

Today the composer (past or present) of the musical score to an opera or operetta is usually given top billing for the completed work, and the writer of the lyrics relegated to second place or a mere footnote, a notable exception being Gertrude Stein, who received top billing for Four Saints in Three Acts.
Four Saints in Three Acts is an opera by American composer Virgil Thomson with a libretto by Gertrude Stein.