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What is Opera?

An Opera is a drama set to music and is made up of vocal pieces with an orchestra accompanying.  There are orchestral overtures and interludes to finish the musicality of the work. There are usually separate recitatives, arias, and choruses.
Singers who perform opera usually possess an innate talent for the vigor of opera, but must also study voice and must train to achieve professional competence.

How did opera get started?

The term "opera" is actually short for "opera in musica".
In 1573 in Italy, a set of educated citizens and musicians started meeting together to converse on different topics, and they shared a wish to revive Greek drama. This group of individuals is known as the Florentine Camerata.  Their distinct insight was to have the dramatic lines sung instead of simply being spoken. From this came the opera which existed in Italy around 1600.

What are the different types of classical opera?

Opera Buffa - Comic opera - treats light, subject matter where the ending is often cheerful. An example is La Serva Padrona by Pergolesi. 

Opera Seria - Also known as Neapolitan opera because so many composers of this type of opera were from Naples. Often, the plot involves heroes and myths. Emphasis is on the bel canto style. Bel canto is Italian for "beautiful singing."  

Opera Semiseria - This type of opera has a serious story but has a happy ending

Grand Opera - a type of opera which originated in Paris in the 19th century

Opera Verismo - Verismo is Italian for "realism;"Characters were often based on everyday people you may meet in real life.

Where to for more info?

Operabase - all things opera

https://www.operabase.com/en

Ut Orpheus Edizioni - large catalogue

https://www.utorpheus.com/

Opera America - opera in and of America

https://www.operaamerica.org/

History of Opera

https://www.operanorth.co.uk/explore-opera/a-brief-history-of-opera/