is one of the more popular and accessible forms
of classical music. An opera is a theatrical
presentation in which dramatic performances are
set to music. It is like a play, except that instead of
speaking lines, the performers sing their lines.
Operas can be dramas, comedies, and/or farces.
An opera is generally referred to as "a stage
presentation or work that combines music,
costumes, and scenery to relay a story. Most
operas are sung, with no spoken lines." The word
"opera" is actually a shortened word for opera in
Opera originated in Italy around 1600. The word opera
is actually an Italian word that basically means "works". It
came to be because small groups of nobles, poets, and
composers began to meet regularly in Florence, Italy
somewhere around 1575. This group was known as the
"Camerata", which means fellowship or society.
Opera came about during a musical period called the
The first opera made, or at least the first opera to be
preserved, was "Euridice" by Jacob Peri. However, it
was Claudio Monteverdi's opera "Orfeo" that became
the first spectacular opera, dazzling aristocrats with his
Florence style musical dramas.
Recitative - imitating the pattern and rhythm of speech.
Aria - when a character expresses feelings through a
Bel canto - Italian for "beautiful singing" A lyrical style
of operatic singing using a full rich broad tone and
Castrato - during the Baroque period, young boys
were castrated before they reached puberty to
avoid the deepening of voice. Main roles of the
opera were written for the castrato.
Comic Opera - Also known as light opera, this type of
opera often tackles light, not so delicate subject matter
where the ending often has a happy resolution. In this type
of opera the dialogue is often spoken and not sung.
Serious Opera - a type of opera current in 18th
century Italy based on a serious
plot, especially a mythological tale.
Opera Semiseria - This type of opera has a serious story
but has a happy ending. This is why some loosely define it
as a combination of the elements of both comic and
Opera Cornique - Is a type of French opera wherein
instead of singing, the lines are spoken. In its early form, it
was satirical but would later on have serious storylines.
Grand Opera - It's an opera of a larger scale, from the
flamboyant costumes to the choruses; it also includes
Opera Verismo - Verismo is Italian for "realism;" it's
a type of opera that emerged during the later part of
the 19th century. Characters were often based on
everyday people you may meet in real life and the
plot is often melodramatic.