Classical, Opera, Ballet
Opera refers to a dramatic art form, originating in Europe, in which the emotional content or primary entertainment is conveyed to the audience as much through music, both vocal and instrumental, as it is through the lyrics. more...
From the beginning of the form (about 1600), there has been contention whether the music is paramount, or the words, a theme that Richard Strauss took up in his final opera, Capriccio (1942). Also, dramatic speech in opera is often sung in recitative. By contrast, in musical theater, dialogue is spoken and an actor's dramatic performance is generally more important than in opera.
Comparable art forms from various parts of the world, many of them quite ancient in origin, exist and are also sometimes called "opera" by analogy, usually prefaced with an adjective indicating the region (for example Chinese opera). However, other than superficial similarities, these other art forms developed independently from and are completely unrelated to opera but are art forms in their own right, not derivatives of opera.
The drama is presented using the primary elements of theatre such as scenery, costumes, and acting. However, the words of the opera, or libretto, are customarily sung rather than spoken. The singers are accompanied by a musical ensemble ranging from a small instrumental ensemble to a full symphonic orchestra.
Besides words and music, opera draws from many other art forms. The visual arts, such as painting, scenery and sculpture, are employed to create the visual spectacle on the stage; in the Baroque "English opera" or Restoration spectacular, visual arts are especially important, even predominant. Finally, dancing is often part of an opera performance, particularly in France. Generally, however, opera is distinguished from other dramatic forms by the importance of song.
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