Opera – An art form that combines various manifestations

Talking about the oldest forms of music, opera would surely strike your mind. Across world, opera is considered as one of the oldest musical form of entertainment. Opera is derived from the Italian, which means work. While looking into the deeper perspective of opera, one would be able to know that, it is production of music composition with libretto. Assortment of elements such as dancing, singing, music, acting and costumes can be seen in an opera. Different parts designed in an opera are portrayed simultaneously with music. In various opera shows, the music is segregated along with the play. While in some opera plays, the music is consistent.


OperaIn opera, two types of singing are convoyed together with instrumental and chorus music. The first type is known as recitative where a story or the plot of opera is being recited. This type or form is not melodious. In the second form is known as aria where artists sing and perform.


For making the commentaries during the play, chorus is used; often for narrating the story. When the orchestra or band playing the music is followed consistently during the play, they are termed as the sub categories of opera named as Stromentato. Along with this, there are different categories of Opera, which are known as singspiel, opera comique, semi opera and operetta. In these forms, dialogues are used on contrary.


Stories or plots which are displayed in Opera are mostly based on love themes, but some other important concepts are also taken up which needs light.


The operas, which were started during the 15th and 16th century, were mostly in Italian, but since the 19th and 20th century, English Opera became popular, as they were easy to understand and removed the barrier of language.


History of Opera
 The Palais Garnier of the Paris Opéra

The Palais Garnier of the Paris Opéra

Opera is said to be born during the 1500s in Florence, Italy During the renaissance period, opera became popular as Intermedi (musical drama). It is stated that, the first opera named Dafne had renowned names such as Peri Jacopo, Caccini Giulio and Rinuccini Ottavio as major performers. Held in the year 1597 in Florence, it was a private event at Plazzo Corsdi. The main concept of this opera was to tell about the tragedy in Greece. As 16th century was closing by, this form of musical entertainment gained popularity. Varieties of productions related to singing and dancing which were forms of opera, cropped up. It was during this period that opera started to gain recognition and spread across various parts of Italy. Along with Italy, France, Spain and England were also influenced by this art. In the middle of 17th century, cities like Milan, Rome and Venice started developing Opera houses. Venice made the start by building the first opera house in the year 1637. Opera was initially started in the courthouses of kings, which later transformed to theaters, which were open to the masses. The thought of opera festival, which is renowned in Italy, was initiated by Monterverdi.


During the 19th century, when English Opera was getting popular, Cormwell banned Opera in English, but after the return of Monarchy, it gained its lost prosperity and became popular in a short span of time.


Preparation of Opera

Preparing for an opera night is a tedious task not just for the performers but also even for the back stage crew. Having an original story is important; hence, the writer is the most important part of the show. After the writer, the librettist is taken into use, as they are able to form the story. After the work of libretto is over, the composers weave the story in beautiful and mesmerizing musical compositions. The acousticians and architects design the opera house depending upon the situation so that best of the best opera performance can be given with ease.


Some popular types of Operas

There are varied forms of operas. Some of them are:-

  1. Comic Opera – It is a form of light opera that’s ends with a happy resolution.
  2. Serious Opera – The story of this opera revolves mainly around heroes with focus on solo voice.
  3. Opera Semiseria – This form of opera emphasize on story story but with a happy ending.
  4. Opera Cornique – In this form of opera, the lines are spoken instead of being sung.


Some of the renowned opera houses are, Teatro Alla Scala – Milan, Royal Opera House – London, Metropolitan Opera House – New York, Palais Garnier – Paris and Sydney Opera House – Sydney.