What Language Is Opera Most Sung In? Wednesday January 26 2022, 10:41 AM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
What Language Is Opera Most Sung In?

The Origins Of Opera 

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. 

Related Post: Does Classical Music Make You Smarter?

The Peak Ages Of Opera 

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. 

Contemporary Opera 

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! 

Related Post: How Much Do Opera Singers Make? (Salary And Pay Per Gig)

operacat 1.jpg

What's The Easiest Language To Sing Opera In?

The ease of singing opera in a particular language can vary from singer to singer based on their individual strengths, training, and linguistic background.

However, some singers may find certain languages more accessible due to various factors such as vowel sounds, pronunciation clarity, or vocal range compatibility.

Italian is often considered one of the more accessible languages for opera due to its open vowel sounds, lyrical qualities, and its historical association with the operatic repertoire.

Many of the greatest operas were composed in Italian, and singers often begin their vocal training with Italian repertoire.

Related Post: Operas Vs. Musical - 5 Key Differences To Pay Attention To

What's The Hardest Language To Sing In? 

One language often considered challenging to sing opera in is German. German has a rich and complex vowel and consonant system, including umlauts and diphthongs, which require precise articulation.

The language also tends to have a more guttural and consonant-heavy quality, requiring singers to navigate a different vocal placement.

Russian is another language known for its difficulty in opera. It features a wide range of vowel sounds and consonant clusters that demand careful vocal control and precision.

The Russian repertoire is known for its emotional depth and dramatic intensity, adding further challenges for singers.

Other languages like French and Czech can also present their own challenges in terms of pronunciation, specific vocal techniques, or navigating the nuances of the language.

Ultimately, the difficulty of singing opera in a particular language depends on various factors, including the singer's linguistic aptitude, vocal flexibility, and training. What may be challenging for one singer might be more manageable for another.

Related Post: 3 Reasons Why Music Is Truly A Universal Language


Share This Blogpost:

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.

Check Out My Latest Single Release Below:

You May Also Like