Opera started in Florence, Italy at the end of the 16th century.
However, its roots can be traced to the use of choruses in ancient
Greek tragedy and plays.
group of Florentine humanists, musicians, poets and the intellectuals,
called the Florentine Camerata, gathered to discuss and guide the arts
movement, especially music and drama. A member of the group, Jacopo
Peri, composed the very first play that featured singing throughout the
drama, called Dafne, essentially introducing a new genre to the world.
Though operas have been composed for over 400 years, their themes
remain universal. Human emotions are explored in all operatic stories
including love, greed, jealousy, anger and revenge.
Stories have centered on mythological characters (Wagner’s Ring Cycle), human relationships, actual historical events (Prokofiev’s War and Peace), and adaptations of fairytales (Massenet’s Cendrillon or Rossini’s La Cenerentola—French and Italian adaptations of Cinderella).
Not all opera is tragic and contrary to popular belief, not all the
heroes and heroines die at the end! Opera can be funny or light-hearted
in nature (opera comique or opera buffa) like Rossini’s famous opera The Barber of Seville. Opera can also be serious (opera seria) as in Gluck’s opera Orpheo ed Euridice.
There are too many to list but some of the most performed operas are:
some of the musical heavyweights in opera are Mozart, Puccini, Verdi,
and Rossini but Wagner, Britten, Donizetti, and other composers have
also contributed a significant amount to the art form.
be fooled that operas were only written long ago. The genre is still
living and developing today. Toni Morrison’s acclaimed book Beloved was recently turned into an opera, as was David Cronenberg’s cult classic movie The Fly.
All singers have different voice types and colours. “Type” refers to
their vocal range and can be broken down to the overall flexibility and
quality of the singer. “Colour” refers to the texture of their sound.
Female Voice Types:
Male Voice Types:
There’s a grey area when it comes to distinguishing opera and musical theatre.
Musical theatre generally has spoken dialogue with musical numbers inserted in between.
instead, uses a style of writing dialogue on specific pitches, called
recitative, making the entire piece more sung through.
Purchase tickets for $22 to all of our operas!