“Opera”, as it is known today, is a drama whose content is staged according to the music. There are no dialogues, rather words of the play are sung and the particular singing style used is known as ‘opera singing'. Acting and singing are the most important factors involved in the entire opera play. Another idiosyncratic factor of operas is the inclusion of Intermezzi that are instrumental breathing spells. Extended ballets and dance numbers also constitute a portion of opera performances. Opera tickets have always been popular among those who value spectacle and visual finesse in plays and dramas.
The birth of Operas
The word ‘Opera' is an Italian word which literally meaning ‘work'. Putting it in today's context, the word suggests the amalgamation of acting and dancing with choral and solo singing in a manner of declamation. Jacopo Peri is believed to be the composer of the first ever opera Dafne. Written in 1597, Dafne attempted to revive the Greek drama. It was a representation of the elites of Florentine natives and sort of a revival of Renaissance mannerisms.
The first platforms for Opera were the courts of Italian aristocracy. Outdoor terraces and sports grounds were also used for staging operas. In 1637, the concept of paid public performances for opera emerged. Opera performances had their fans but at the same time critics were also gathering up. The refined taste for spectacle and exceptionally talented singers was also seen as the adulteration in the purity of drama and acting. However, the opera concept continued to grow and started taking roots in French, German and English theatre worlds as well.
Initial Opera themes
Opera came into existence around a time known as the Baroque Era. At that time Opera was considered to be a very celebratory and ceremonial ritual. Written for and displayed at weddings and other special occasions, the themes for operas were drawn from mythology and early civilizations of Rome and Greece. The protagonists were considered comparable to Roman heroes and Greek mythic figures. The audiences for the operas back then were mostly the aristocrats and composers had to be flattering and careful of the exalted viewers they were writing for.
The original creators of opera, the composers, poets and nobles sitting together endeavoring to create a new vocal style based their first creations on Greek tragedy. This group known as ‘Camerata' had to base all their theories and ideas on the literary accounts of the Greeks. The music had to be innovative though, since no actual music had descended to them from the Greek civilizations, so they went on to produce lines that followed pitch differences and rhythms of speech.
Moving up the Ladder
Since the first public Opera was formed in 1637, in Venice, the art of Opera became accessible to anyone who would pay for a ticket to watch. Several opera houses began springing up over Italy, followed by cities all over the world. Interestingly all opera houses were constructed with the aristocratic and artistic aspect in mind. Therefore, all opera houses had ornate designing and beautiful decorations, which reflected the finesse of the art itself.
Many new forms of music and styles of singing also emerged further from the traditional definition of opera songs. Based on different ways the singers molded their speech, Virtuoso and Castro singing took birth. Castro however went beyond vocal skills and involved medical procedures to preserve the young males' own heavy voice along with the vocal ranges of a woman's voice.
Such intriguing procedures and their fascinating outcomes made opera even more popular among theatre lovers and lead to new forms of recitals being created as well. Specific opera terms and different performance styles emerged, based on the music that accompanied the acting presentations. Different titles were given to operas which were operated with full orchestras and those with simple acoustics.
Today, opera has taken many forms and directions. Once only performed in Italian, now this performing art has made quite a name in all popular languages. Many opera houses today have also collaborated with production companies and the operas are also broadcasted to local cinemas. Met Opera, based in New York City, United States is a prime example of such a company. Taking off as a small creation of innovative entertainment in Italy, Operas have won millions of hearts across generations and still continue to do so. Rising popularity of the art can be estimated from the rising demand for Opera tickets, not just in United States but all over the world.