- an extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias, choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet.Compare comic opera, grand opera.
- the form or branch of musical and dramatic art represented by such compositions.
- the score or the words of such a composition.
- a performance of one: to go to the opera.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) an opera house or resident company: the Paris Opera.
Origin of opera1
- a plural of opus.
- a musical composition.
- one of the compositions of a composer, usually numbered according to the order of publication.
- a literary work or composition, as a book: Have you read her latest opus? Abbreviation: op.
Origin of opus
Examples from the Web for opera
Contemporary Examples of opera
It has always featured the very best voices and employed the most sophisticated stagecraft of any opera house.Inside the Metropolitan Opera’s Insane Year
Shawn E. Milnes
November 23, 2014
Her story, and that of her composer, so unlike those of any other opera, have a drama of all their own.
The opera is a dark and passionate tale of adultery and greed.
He had married, and had an affair, while he was writing Lady Macbeth, and the opera was alive with sexuality.
The Met has the First Amendment right to present this opera, and people certainly have a similar right to attend.Rudy Giuliani: Why I Protested ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’
October 20, 2014
Historical Examples of opera
It was the night you and the folks went to the opera with the Oldakers.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
(§ 11), likens Plautine drama to "an opera of the early schools."The Dramatic Values in Plautus
Wilton Wallace Blancke
I gained nothing; the Opera gives me my best chance to see and be seen.
Sing by all means; but, if you must have immediate results, not in opera.
In any case, it was evident that Italian opera was a precarious enterprise.Handel
Edward J. Dent
- an extended dramatic work in which music constitutes a dominating feature, either consisting of separate recitatives, arias, and choruses, or having a continuous musical structure
- the branch of music or drama represented by such works
- the score, libretto, etc, of an opera
- a theatre where opera is performed
Word Origin for opera
- a plural of opus
- an artistic composition, esp a musical work
- (often capital) (usually followed by a number) a musical composition by a particular composer, generally catalogued in order of publicationBeethoven's opus 61 is his violin concerto
Word Origin for opus
Word Origin and History for opera
"a drama sung" [Klein], 1640s, from Italian opera, literally "a work, labor, composition," from Latin opera "work, effort" (Latin plural regarded as feminine singular), secondary (abstract) noun from operari "to work," from opus (genitive operis) "a work" (see opus). Defined in "Elson's Music Dictionary" as, "a form of musical composition evolved shortly before 1600, by some enthusiastic Florentine amateurs who sought to bring back the Greek plays to the modern stage."
No good opera plot can be sensible. ... People do not sing when they are feeling sensible. [W.H. Auden, 1961]
As a branch of dramatic art, it is attested from 1759. First record of opera glass "small binoculars for use at the theater" is from 1738. Soap opera is first recorded 1939, as a disparaging reference to daytime radio dramas sponsored by soap manufacturers.
"a work, composition," especially a musical one, 1809, from Latin opus "a work, labor, exertion" (source of Italian opera, French oeuvre, Spanish obra), from PIE root *op- (Germanic *ob-) "to work, produce in abundance," originally of agriculture later extended to religious acts (cf. Sanskrit apas- "work, religious act;" Avestan hvapah- "good deed;" Old High German uoben "to start work, to practice, to honor;" German üben "to exercise, practice;" Dutch oefenen, Old Norse æfa, Danish øve "to exercise, practice;" Old English æfnan "to perform, work, do," afol "power"). The plural, seldom used as such, is opera.
A musical drama that is totally or mostly sung. Aïda, Carmen, and Don Giovanni are some celebrated operas. A light, comic opera is often called an operetta.