artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (libretto) and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. In traditional opera, singers do two types of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and arias, a more melodic style. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. 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.

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Founded in 1778, La Scala is one of the world's most famous opera houses.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognizable opera houses and landmarks.
Bolshoi Theatre.


  • No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
  • An exotic and irrational entertainment, which has been always combated, and always has prevailed.
    • Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets (1779-81), "Hughes." (Of Italian opera.)

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