18 February, 2011


A Grandscale Musical Play
An Opera play being enacted on the stage.

Just like a stage drama, an opera is a story acted out onstage but in an opera the performers do not read out their dialogues rather they sing their lines. An opera is also different from a musical play or drama because opera performers usually don't speak at all. All of their dialougues have to be sung. Their songs  don't happen between conversations, but rather their songs are the conversation. Just like the songs and poetry the music an orchestra plays for an opera is as important to the overall effect of it.
Traditional operas tell a big story in a grand way. The story is usually serious, with a strong and evenly woven plot but there are some comic operas also doing well. Many operas tell tragic tales of lovers who are kept apart or the life stories of great kings or emperors.
Sidney Opera House in Australian Capital Sidney.

Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is one of these. Some operas, like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute, tell stories of mystery and enchantment. Comic operas, such as Giaocchino Rossetti's The Barber of Seville, often feature silly situations and people trying to provide comic relief to the audience.
In the late 1800s, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan wrote comic operas that made fun of people from various walks of life. One of the most popular of their light operas, or operettas, was The Pirates of Penzance. But today's opera composers continue the dramatic spirit of classic opera, even though their subjects are no longer of the same great intensity or seriousness, rather they have changed greatly.
A special form of opera called Jinxi or Peking Opera developed in China during the mid-19th century.
In this Jingxi or Peking opera performers use larger-than-life or unrealistic movements to portray their character. The rhythmic beating of clappers marks time for movements, and the performance may feature acrobatic fighting scenes.
Classic operas are usually performed in the language they were written in. Today, if the audience doesn't speak the language of the opera, the opera company may show the singers' words in the audience's language on a screen above the stage.

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