li·​bret·​to | \ lə-ˈbre-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce libretto (audio) \
plural librettos or libretti\ lə-​ˈbre-​(ˌ)tē How to pronounce libretto (audio) \

Definition of libretto

1 : the text of a work (such as an opera) for the musical theater
2 : the book containing a libretto

Examples of libretto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hebrail Kidjo ended up writing the show’s libretto and lyrics, which were set to music by her parents. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 Yet the plots of the four myths that the composer adapted into the libretto are given only the most basic outline in the English supertitles, for the spirit of this haunting evening is atmospheric rather than narrative. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 17 Mar. 2022 That the play was excellent to begin with was no guarantee of a viable libretto. Jesse Green, New York Times, 31 Jan. 2022 The opera in four acts, composed in 1762 by Christoph Willibald Gluck (with a libretto by Ranieri de’ Calzabigi), was arranged anew in 1859 by Hector Berlioz to allow for the great mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot to sing the lead. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 Its score is by Ricky Ian Gordon and its libretto by Michael Korie. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 20 Mar. 2022 For the project, Nottage ventured into unknown territory, writing the libretto and collaborating with the composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Susan Dominus Photographs By Joshua Kissi Styled By Ian Bradley Sasha Weiss Photographs By Collier Schorr Styled By Jay Massacret Megan O’grady Portrait By Mickalene Thomas And Racquel Chevremont Ligaya Mishan Photographs By Tina Barney, New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 James Lapine’s libretto is about famous fairy tale characters who achieve their happily-ever-afters by intermission, only to discover in the musical’s second act that real life is no fantasy. San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Mar. 2022 Listen, once more, to the libretto of the opera: . . . Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 20 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'libretto.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of libretto

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for libretto

Italian, diminutive of libro book, from Latin libr-, liber

Learn More About libretto

Time Traveler for libretto

Time Traveler

The first known use of libretto was in 1742

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near libretto




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for libretto

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Libretto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on libretto

Nglish: Translation of libretto for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about libretto


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!