If you're not familiar with opera, you may mistakenly think that there is only one language you can perform opera music in. This is not true at all! Operas have been created in over 100 different languages, including English, so if you're looking to try learning the sung parts of an opera, you may not need to try to learn another language for it.
While you can sing it in many different languages, its origins are found in Italy at the end of the 16th century. Opera is a form of theater that is musically centered around singers and their dramatic roles, but it is important that it's not only about the singing. The word "work" is the literal translation of the Italian word "opera". This work covers many acts, including singing, playing instruments, dancing, and acting.
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Opera really ran the entertainment world in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many Italian operas, including Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and "The Marriage of Figaro" are widely known works that are often performed in this day and age.
While Italian operas were the most popular, these performances were definitely not limited to the Italian language. Many popular operas are in languages that include German, Russian, French, Czech, and English. Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" is a top-rated English opera that is often performed today. Delibes' French work "Lakmé" features "The Flower Duet", often used in current TV/Film productions.
By the time the 19th century rolled around, there were operas being performed in the native language in Turkey, Iran, Spain, Hungaria, and several other locations that were influenced by Italian music culture.
Operas are still being created across the globe in the more recent centuries that are often heavily influenced by the idea of atonality and even dabbled in aleatoric music. More modern composers like Igor Stravinsky, Puccini, and Strauss began to play with chromaticism and dissonance to add a new touch of flavor to the traditional and melodic opera roots.
Musical theatre started to really get popular in western music culture in the 20th century. In the early 1900s, many musicals, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom Of The Opera" began to mix classical opera elements into their productions.
While musicals did seem to develop right after operas started to decline, they were a thing way back in the middle ages. For centuries, Italy indeed stole the show, with opera as the most popular way to combine music and theatre, but musicals don't necessarily derive from opera. Either way, the most popular musicals are written and performed in English, while the most popular operas are in Italian!
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