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BYU Students Complete Another Succesful Summer of Scanning in Belgium


Continuing the collaborative project of scanning opera and ballet materials begun in 2012, three BYU students recently completed a second summer of work in Belgium. This year’s effort was highly productive, resulting in more than one thousand new additions to the digital collection in just ten weeks.

The BYU students (left to right: Karli West, Elise Read, and Lindsey Lawson) all worked diligently forty hours each week. Karli and Elise are both voice majors in the BYU School of Music, and enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with these early primary sources related to their musical training. As a computer science major, Lindsey enjoyed the opportunity to explore the practical side of applying technology in advance research. She also benefitted from the experience of working closely with the technical side of the Internet Archive system.

Even after working forty hours each week, the students still found time to explore many of the nearby cultural highlights of Belgium. Professor Roland Van der Hoeven, eminent scholar of the history of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, generously hosted an excursion to Liège and Leuven. Other travel opportunities included short trips to Paris, Rome, and Venice.

New additions to the collection resulting from this summer’s activity include a collection for more than 550 libretti for 19th-century opera and vaudeville assembled at the Archives de la Ville de Bruxelles. The vaudeville libretti are especially interesting and will prove indispensible for research related to the large collection of vaudeville orchestral parts from the Théâtre de la Monnaie also held at the Archives de la Ville.

The collaborative aspect of this summer’s scanning continued with new additions from The Brussels Royal Conservatory and Antwerp Royal Conservatory. The Archive of the Théâtre de la Monnaie joined the collaboration as a new partner and facilitated scanning of more than one hundred and twenty opera scores, mostly representing the late 18th and early 19th-century opéra comique genre.

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