Because most of the libretti in the Howard Mayer Brown Libretto Collection (BLC) are housed in archival envelopes, the process of cataloging feels a bit like unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning. Every item has the potential to be a treasure.
Recently there were three in a row that were unusually thick and that grated strangely against their housing — what could these be? They were the first of seven libretti in jewel-like bindings: boards covered in silk embroidered with metallic thread, ribbon, and sequins.
All of the works were published in Barcelona by Francisco Genéras. Although library collocation numbers on the inside front covers indicate that they came from the same library, no further evidence of provenance is immediately apparent.
Case ML50.2.M67 G65 1765 (BLC 441) — Carlo Goldoni’s Mondo della luna — was a particular treat since, in addition to the interesting binding, it offered up one of my favorite clusters of subject headings:
- Credulity–Drama[/Humor]–Early works to 1800.
- Marriage–Drama[/Humor]–Early works to 1800.
- Extraterrestrial beings–Drama[/Humor]–Early works to 1800.