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Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Originally understood as an entirely sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as musical theatre, Singspiel and Opéra comique. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style, and self-contained arias. The 19th century saw the rise of the continuous music drama.

Opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century (with Jacopo Peri's mostly lost Dafne, produced in Florence in 1598) especially from works by Claudio Monteverdi, notably L'Orfeo, and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Heinrich Schütz in Germany, Jean-Baptiste Lully in France, and Henry Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century. In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe (except France), attracting foreign composers such as George Frideric Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Christoph Willibald Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s. The most renowned figure of late 18th-century opera is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas, especially The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, as well as Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), and The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), landmarks in the German tradition.

The first third of the 19th century saw the high point of the bel canto style, with Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini all creating signature works of that style. It also saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Daniel Auber and Giacomo Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a golden age of opera, led and dominated by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy and Richard Wagner in Germany. The popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss in the early 20th century. During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism (Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg), Neoclassicism (Igor Stravinsky), and Minimalism (Philip Glass and John Adams). With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas became known to much wider audiences that went beyond the circle of opera fans. Since the invention of radio and television, operas were also performed on (and written for) these media. Beginning in 2006, a number of major opera houses began to present live high-definition video transmissions of their performances in cinemas all over the world. Since 2009, complete performances can be downloaded and are live streamed.

Opera Media

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Habit d'Ixion: a man wearing a tonnelet with a sword in the belt, a turban with one large feather on his head, from 'New designs for costumes' (Nouveaux desseins d'habillements à l'usage des balets operas et comedies)

Habit d'Ixion: a man wearing a tonnelet with a sword in the belt, a tu...

François Joullain (French, Paris 1697–1778 Paris)

Federico II re di Prussia. Libretto. Italian

Federico II re di Prussia. Libretto. Italian

del Sig. Felice Romani ; da rappresentarsi nell'I. e R. teatro Goldoni nella primavera dell'anno 1821 ; sotto la protezione di S.A.I. e R. Ferdinando III., gran-duca di Toscana ... (statement of responsibility)... More

Grand pot pouri brillant

Grand pot pouri brillant

cover only From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form) In bound volumes: Copyright D... More

Selections from Leonora, part IV

Selections from Leonora, part IV

cover only From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form) In bound volumes: Copyright D... More

Ah! With rapture my heart is beating [from] Linda di Chamounix

Ah! With rapture my heart is beating [from] Linda di Chamounix

cover page only From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form) In bound volumes: Copyri... More

Idol mio = Oh return love, aria

Idol mio = Oh return love, aria

English translation by W.J. Wetmore From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form) In b... More

Due precettori. Libretto. Italian

Due precettori. Libretto. Italian

di L.C. ; posto in musica da Francesco D'Arcais ; da rappresentarsi al teatro Rossini nel carnevale 1858. (statement of responsibility) U.S. RISM Libretto Project. Two acts; legal notice--p. 2; "Avvertimento"--... More

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Avfotografering, utkledd kvinne, en scene fra "Tannhäuser". Elise Wiborg i Tanhausen.

Avfotografering, utkledd kvinne, en scene fra "Tannhäuser". Elise Wibo...

Avfotografering, utkledd kvinne, en scene fra "Tannhäuser". Elise Wiborg i Tanhausen.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen i operaen "Carmen".

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, sopran Ina Madsen som Sibler i operaen Faust.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.p.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.p.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902..

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902..

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902..

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Prinsen av Mantua", fra Cornevilles klokker" (av Planquette), Nationaltheatret 1902..

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "Hans og Grethe" (av Humperdinck) National Theateret 1903.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "Hans og Grethe" (av Humperdinck) National Theateret 1903.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "Hans og Grethe" (av Humperdinck) National Theateret 1903.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "Hans og Grethe" (av Humperdinck) National Theateret 1903.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "Hans og Grethe" (av Humperdinck) National Theateret 1903.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap, som heksen i "Hans og Grethe" (av Humperdinck) National Theateret 1903.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Den skjønne Helene" (Offenbach) på Fahlstrøms Theater 1905.

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Den skjønn...

Portrett, operasangerinne, sopranen Gabrielle Bidenkap som "Den skjønne Helene" (Offenbach) på Fahlstrøms Theater 1905.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, operasanger Hoffmann.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm. Brynje, hjelm. skjold og spyd.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm. Brynje, hjelm. skjold og spyd...

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm. Brynje, hjelm. skjold og spyd.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopranen Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopranen Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopranen Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, opera, sopran, Kathinka Storm.

Portrett, fru kommandør Ruud.

Portrett, fru kommandør Ruud.

Portrett, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotografering.
Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotografering. Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotografering. Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Avfotograferte portretter, fru kommandør Ruud.

Turkey's bill boards There are no operas of a [sic] serious plays in Constantinople. The people content themselves with cheap vaudiville [sic] or moving pictures of an indifferent quality. This picture shows one of the leading theatres of the city.

Turkey's bill boards There are no operas of a [sic] serious plays in C...

Photograph shows the entrance to a theater with signs and notices in Greek, Ottoman Turkish and French. Filed in: Turkey Reconstruction. Title from item. No. RC-3141. On mount: Turkey. Forms part of: American ... More

Dr. Faust
The Federal Arts Projects for New York City welcome the National Education Association of the United States Presenting plays, concerts, radio programs, art exhibits, publications, historical records, circus, Gilbert & Sullivan operas, guided tours of projects : For details inquire at NEA information booths.

The Federal Arts Projects for New York City welcome the National Educa...

Poster for New York City Federal Art Project presentation of festivities during the National Education Association's convention in New York City. Date stamped on verso: Sep 2 1938. Work Projects Administration ... More

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Directeuren Chinese Opera

Directeuren Chinese Opera

Directeuren Chinese Opera

Directeuren Chinese Opera

Directeuren Chinese Opera

Directeuren Chinese Opera

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Ontvangst leden directie Chinese Opera Stadhuis

Ontvangst leden directie Chinese Opera Stadhuis

Ontvangst leden directie Chinese Opera Stadhuis

Aankomst boottocht leden Chinese Opera

Aankomst boottocht leden Chinese Opera

Aankomst boottocht leden Chinese Opera

Aankomst boottocht leden Chinese Opera

Aankomst boottocht leden Chinese Opera

Aankomst boottocht leden Chinese Opera

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Optreden Chinese Opera Amsterdam

Opera "Die entfuhrung aus dem Serail" , J. Knaap en

Opera "Die entfuhrung aus dem Serail" , J. Knaap en

Opera "Die entfuhrung aus dem Serail" , J. Knaap en J. van Haagen

Opera "Die entfuhrung aus dem Serail" , Dini Tadema

Opera "Die entfuhrung aus dem Serail" , Dini Tadema

Opera "Die entfuhrung aus dem Serail" , Dini Tadema en J. Knaap

Opera in Congresgebouw te Amsterdam

Opera in Congresgebouw te Amsterdam

Opera in Congresgebouw te Amsterdam

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis, Amsterdam Peter Schat tijdens repetitie

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis, Amsterdam Peter Schat (voorgrond) en Jan van Vlijmen bij repetitie

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis, Amsterdam v.l.n.r. Peter Schat , Reinbert de Leeuw , Jan van Vlijmen , Louis Andriessen tijdens repetitie

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis, Amsterdam Louis Andriessen tijdens repetitie

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis,

Repetitie opera "Reconstructie" in restaurant van Artis, Amsterdam Peter Schat tijdens repetitie

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre, regisseur Gotz

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre, regisseur Gotz

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre, regisseur Gotz Friedrich

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre, Gotz Friedrich

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre, Gotz Friedrich

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre, Gotz Friedrich (links) en choreograaf T. van Schaik

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in Carre, Pauline Tinsley en Jan Derksen (speelt Amonasro)

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre

Repetities voor opera Aida in Carre

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in Carre, Pauline Tinsley speel Aida (kop)

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in Carre, overzicht

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in

Repetities opera "Aida" in kader Holland Festival in Carre, overzicht

Kinderen maken kennis met Maximonster in Stadsschouwbrug

Kinderen maken kennis met Maximonster in Stadsschouwbrug

Kinderen maken kennis met Maximonster in Stadsschouwbrug Amsterdam i.v.m. opera Max en de Maximonsters