Opera (English plural: operas; Italian plural: opere) is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (called a libretto) and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble.
Opera is part of the Western classical music tradition. It started in Italy at the end of the 16th century (with Jacopo Peri's lost Dafne, produced in Florence in 1598) and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Schütz in Germany, Lully in France, and Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century. In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, except France, attracting foreign composers such as Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s. Today the most renowned figure of late 18th century opera is Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas, especially The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze Di Figaro), Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, as well as The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), a landmark in the German tradition.
The first third of the 19th century saw the highpoint of the bel canto style, with Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini all creating works that are still performed today. It also saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Auber and Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a "golden age" of opera, led and dominated by Wagner in Germany and Verdi in Italy. The popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Puccini and Strauss in the early 20th century. During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism (Schoenberg and Berg), Neoclassicism (Stravinsky), and Minimalism (Philip Glass and John Adams). With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso became known to audiences beyond the circle of opera fans. Operas were also performed on (and written for) radio and television.
Other articles related to "opera, operas":
... Hasse's career began in singing, when he joined the Hamburg Opera (his family, who were traditionally church musicians, came from near Hamburg) in 1718 as a tenor. 1719 he obtained a singing post at the court of Brunswick, where in 1721 his first opera, Antioco, was performed Hasse himself sang in the production ... The success of this work not only earned Hasse many commissions from Naples's opera houses, but also, according to Quantz, brought him into contact with ...
... Major opera companies have begun presenting their performances in local cinemas throughout the United States and many other countries ... The Metropolitan Opera began a series of live high-definition video transmissions to cinemas around the world in 2006 ... San Francisco Opera began prerecorded video transmissions in March 2008 ...
... Two years after leaving the conservatory he wrote his first opera -- it was based on Alessandro Manzoni's great novel The Betrothed (I promessi sposi) -- and it was as an opera ... he took small-time jobs in small cities, and composed several operas, none successful at first ... The following opera, I Lituani (The Lithuanians) (1874), was also well received, being performed later at Saint Petersburg (as Aldona - November 20, 1884) ...
... her debut in Salzburg and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Mimì, and in the United States with a recital at Carnegie Hall ... In March 1951, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Marguérite, and she went on to sing with the company for ten years ... In 1957 she sang at the Vienna State Opera ...
Famous quotes containing the word opera:
“The real exertion in the case of an opera singer lies not so much in her singing as in her acting of a role, for nearly every modern opera makes great dramatic and physical demands.”
—Maria Jeritza (18871982)
“The Opera is obviously the first draft of a fine spectacle; it suggests the idea of one.”
—Jean De La Bruyère (16451696)
“I have witnessed, and greatly enjoyed, the first act of everything which Wagner created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act was quite sufficient; whenever I have witnessed two acts I have gone away physically exhausted; and whenever I have ventured an entire opera the result has been the next thing to suicide.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)