Opera

Article

May 23, 2022

Ópera (from the Italian òpera, 'musical works') designates a genre of theatrical music in which a stage action is harmonized, sung and has instrumental accompaniment. Performances are usually offered in opera houses, accompanied by an orchestra or a smaller musical group. It is part of the European and Western classical music tradition.

Description

Unlike the oratorio, the opera is a work intended to be performed. Some genres of musical theater are closely related to opera, such as the Spanish zarzuela, the German singspiel, the Viennese operetta, the French opéra-comique, and the English and American musical. Each of these variants of musical theater has its own characteristics, without these being exclusive to them and, on many occasions, giving rise to unclear borders between such genres. In opera, as in several other genres of musical theater, it joins: The music (orchestra, soloists, choir and director). Poetry (by means of the libretto). The performing arts, especially acting, ballet, and dance. The scenic arts (painting, plastic arts, decoration, architecture). Lighting and other scenic effects. Makeup and costumes. Opera is usually differentiated from other genres of musical theater, accepting that opera is a performance completely accompanied by music. The history of the genre shows that such a statement is not correct. Although opera differs from recited theater due to the extraordinary participation of music in its constitution, bordering forms such as the masquerade, the ballad opera, the zarzuela and the singspiel were already known since the Baroque era, which are confused in many cases with the opera. Thus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's singspiele are considered operas in the same way as José de Nebra's zarzuelas, while Kurt Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) is, in reality, much closer to recited theater than to Opera. Finally, there are other genres close to opera, such as the French baroque opera-ballet and some 20th-century neoclassicist works, such as some works by Igor Stravinsky. However, in these works the main expressive part falls on the dance while the song is relegated to a secondary role. Regarding the difference between the opera and the zarzuela, the operetta, the singspiel and the English and American musical, the delimitation stems from a formal difference.

Opera genres

funny drama drama for music farce (opera) grand opera Intermediate Intermezzo (music) opera bouffon buffalo opera chinese opera Opéra-comique ballad opera chamber opera peking opera Savoy Opera serious opera opera-ballet Operetta opera bouffe opera fair heroic pastoral semi opera Tragedy in music verismo Singspiel

History

Origins

The word 'opera' means 'work' in Italian (from the Latin word 'opus', 'work' or 'labor') suggesting that it combines the arts of choral and solo singing, declamation, acting and dance in one stage show. Some authors point to the Greek tragedy, the Italian carnivalesque songs of the fourteenth century (the Italian mascerata) and the intermissions of the fifteenth century (small musical pieces that were inserted during theatrical performances) as formal precursors of the opera. Jacopo Peri's Dafne was the first composition to be considered an opera, as we understand it today. It was written during 1597, under the great inspiration of an elite circle of Florentine humanist writers, known as the "Camerata de' Bardi" or "Camerata Florentina". Significantly, Daphne was an attempt to revive classical Greek tragedy, part of the larger Renaissance revival of antiquity. Members of the Camerata cons