The parameters of this database are as follows: we have included the details of events as they appear in advertisements, announcements, and reviews. For some events, an advertisement is the only source. Often, due to the size of the ad, the details of who is performing or which works are being performed, is not included. Occasionally, there is an announcement that offers more detailed information, as, for example, the names of some of the works being performed. Where we have accessed that incomplete information, it appears in the database.

For groups, such as opera companies, that give multiple performances of the same work, advertisements may differ depending on the performance. For the premiere presentation, many more details will be advertised than for later performances. The complete cast and conductor are usually included for season premieres. For later performances, only the name of the opera will be given. Although the cast usually does not change, we have noticed that in some companies, different conductors may conduct the same opera during a season. We therefore do not assume that the performers in a particular work do not change. A search of the database for multiple performances of the same opera by the same company may contain incomplete information as to the cast and conductor.

Our main objective has been to document musical performances. Data on plays with music and Barnum’s (and other) circuses may not be include every performance. In constructing the chronologies that serve as the basis for the database, we searched for events where music is mentioned in the ads, announcements, and reviews. While many more details can be derived from actual programs for each event, we have not, for reasons of time, consulted them.

We invite participation from our users to fill in missing data. Collaborate with us.