The History of Opera

Topics: Opera, Otello, Plácido Domingo Pages: 5 (1081 words) Published: August 16, 2010
Grade: 10 –1
Subject: Music
Teacher: Mrs. D. Williams

Words and Meanings

✓ Opus: A creative work, especially a musical composition numbered to designate the order of a composer's works.

✓ March: A piece of music, usually in four beats to the bar, having a strongly accented rhythm.

✓ Overture: An instrumental composition intended especially as an introduction to an extended work, such as an opera or oratorio.

✓ Waltz: A ballroom dance in triple time with a strong accent on the first beat.

✓ Sonata: A composition for one or more solo instruments, one of which is usually a keyboard instrument, consisting of three or four independent movements varying in key, mood, and tempo.

✓ Aria: A solo vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment, as in an opera.

✓ Opera: A theatrical presentation in which a dramatic performance is set to music.

✓ Interlude: A brief piece of music, dance, etc, given between the sections of another performance.

✓ Fanfare: A flourish or short tune played on brass instruments, used as a military signal, usually at a ceremonial event.

✓ Recessional: A hymn that accompanies the exit of the clergy and choir after a service.


An opera is a play in which all the conversation is set to music and the actors sing the words instead of speaking them. In Grand Opera, all the words are sung and the music is supposed to be of the finest kind, to be played by large orchestras and sung by the best singers. In light opera, or operettas, some of the conversation is spoken and some is sung. The songs are of the kinds that become “popular songs”. Grand Operas are usually tragedies with unhappy endings and light operas are usually comedies with happy endings, though this is not always so. In Grand Opera, the leading members of the cast sing a certain number of arias, which are solo songs. There are recitatives, which are spoken words set to music but not actually songs. Usually there are large choruses that accompany the leading singers. Many operas have ballets, or dancing acts that are made apart of the story. Before the opera begins, the orchestra plays an overture that is made up of the best melodies used in the opera. The most popular writers of opera were an Italian, Giuseppe Verdi, whose operas include Aida, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, and several others that have remained popular for years. The most popular single opera is Carmen, by Georges Bizet, a Frenchman. Nearly all great composers wrote operas. The music is the most important thing in an opera; the writer of the words is seldom remembered. There are many famous opera houses or theatres, where operas are presented, throughout Europe and the Americas. Among the most famous are La Scala, in Milan, Italy; The Operas of Paris, Rome, Berlin, and other great European cities; and the Metropolitan Opera Hose in New York City. The most elaborate scenery and costumes are used in presentations at these opera houses.

Movies Containing Opera

The Phantom of the Opera

From Russia with Love


Mary Poppins

Famous Opera Singers

Renee Fleming
One of the most famous modern day sopranos in the world of opera is Renee Fleming, who is from the United States. The singer is a Grammy award winner. Her most popular recording is Sindarin, which is from the soundtrack The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. In addition to the standard collection, Ms. Fleming has performed many world premieres, including André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire and Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons with the San Francisco Opera, and at the Metropolitan Opera, John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles. She also sang Carlisle Floyd's Susannah in its first productions at the Metropolitan Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to her many appearances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, her voice has resounded throughout the distinguished venues of...
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