Musicians Guide to Opera Music
Opera music is the music to which a theatrical dramatic performance is set. Whilst an opera is presented with acting, scenery etc., the words are sung. Opera singers are accompanied by an instrumental ensemble and in some instances by a complete symphonic orchestra. The earliest opera, Dafne by Jacopo Peri, was performed in 1597. A popular opera of our time is The Phantom of the Opera. Operas are performed at opera houses such as the Royal Opera House and the famous Sydney Opera House.
Opera singers are classified by their vocal ranges. The classification for female opera singers (starting at the lowest) are contralto, mezzo-soprano and soprano. For men it is bass, bass-baritone, baritone, tenor and countertenor.
Opera can either be recitative (plot and dialogue are non-melodic) or aria (plot pauses and music is melodic and emotional). While opera music may not be appeal to everyone, it has a dedicated following of fans who enjoy nothing more than a night at the opera.