What is Opera?

Apr 10, 2007 8:11 pm
There is a good definition of Opera on Wikipedia that I really like:

“Opera is a form of theatre in which the drama is conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. Opera uses many of the elements of spoken theatre such as scenery, costumes, and acting. Generally, however, opera is distinguished from other dramatic forms by the importance of song and conventions of vocal technique.”

The last line is the one that I find to be most critical. Hard to define what the “conventions of vocal technique” are as they have changed over time but I think they are perhaps the most important distinguishing factor from other forms of music, theater and musical theater.

Same problem with Jazz. There is a tradition that we can call “Jazz,” but the elements that make up that tradition have change so much that they are almost mutually exclusive a generation or two later. We almost have to define “Jazz” or “Opera” as the music has been called by that name at different periods of time. But I find that to be a pretty lame definition.


~ by severalfourmany on April 10, 2007.

2 Responses to “What is Opera?”

  1. Just going around your blog, trying to find the Greek thing you told me about, and just found out that you have love for opera. I am an opera lover as well. It’s hilarious.

    • Are you planning on watching/listening to the Met broadcast of Wagner’s Parsifal on Saturday?

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