In the beginning of 2009 OPERA, an editions project funded by the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz, was established at the University of Bayreuth and is now based at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. The project is scheduled for a 15-year period, during which time frame 16 works are to be brought out. The choice of compositions to be edited has been based on two criteria. One is the importance of a particular work to the history of music theater. This largely has to do with the significance of a piece and its value as an example of a historical genre. The other criterion has to do with the editorial issues connected with a given work. Hence, the individual editions serve as models for dealing with the problems of editing a certain genre. This purpose clearly distinguishes the volumes of OPERA from musical dramatic works produced within the framework of a collected edition, where, owing to the author-oriented arrangement, composer-specific editorial problems are generally at the center of interest.
The project OPERA is grounded in the discipline of musicology. However, because it involves the editorial handling of different types of texts (music, libretti) as well as multilingual text forms, OPERA is considered an original, interdisciplinary undertaking, in which, on the basis of a particular artefact, new, subject-specific editorial concepts are developed that cross disciplinary borders.