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George Darden Piano and Opera Music Collection

Identifier: MSS 0445

Scope and Contents

The George Darden Piano and Opera Music Collection consits of bound sheet music, unbound sheet music, and personal papers (not yet processed). The sheet music contains annotation for Darden's various collaborations, espcially with the Houston Grand Opera and Metropolitan Opera. Highlights of the collection include Darden's performance notes relating to such performers as the Three Tenors, Renee Fleming, Marilyn Horn, Julius Rudel, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, and Sir Thomas Allen. The collection also features Darden's working copy of Porgy and Bess, including notes for musical preparation for the version conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.


  • 1887 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1890 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Note written by Stacey Krim.


77.00 Boxes (77 boxes)

Language of Materials



George Darden's 1963 debut featured a solo piano performance with the Savannah Symphony. After studying under pianist, Carlisle Floyd, and mezzo-soprano, Elena Nikolaidi, at Florida State University, Darden established himself in the Texas Opera Theatre and the Houston Grand Opera in major projections such as Il Barbiere di Sivilia and Of Mice and Men. In 1985, he began his collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera, providing piano and music preparation for major works by Mozart, Verdi, and Rossini. Darden is acclaimed as the authority in productions of Porgy and Bess, having directed the musical preparation for 165 performances.

George Darden's reputation for expertise in piano and vocal music preparation contributed to his collaboration with the biggest names in opera. He has been heard as the piano behind some of the most famous performances by soprano Renee Flemming, including Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, Dvorak's Rusalka, and Massenet's Manon. Additionally, he accompanied such celebrated vocalists as Marilyn Horne, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Sir Thomas Allen. George Darden's friend, Placido Domingo, has said, "If I was singing or conducting, I always hear in your [Darden's] playing the weight, feeling, and colors from the orchestra."

Arrangement Note

The collection is divided into three two series, music and personal papers.

Separated Materials

Bound scores, monographs, and serials were separated and can be searched through the library catalog. Personal papers have been processed as a separate collection.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2015.
George Darden Piano and Opera Music Collection
Stacey Krim
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US