What’s Opera?

by Terri Kelly
Hmm…would you rather eat spinach or listen to opera? You might enjoy a bite-o-opera if you knew more about it.
Opera is a singing play. In other words, pretend you’re sitting in a theater where live actors dress in costumes, the stage is decorated, and instead of saying the words, the performers sing the words. Libretto is the name for the words sung by the singers.
Operas are performed on stage or in large opera houses. An opera house is a large, theater-style building with a stage, orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage rooms.
Opera singers train their voices daily and study music for years. Most operas are performed in the original language in which they were written, so opera singers learn to sing several languages.
Do you think opera sounds too grown-up, too bold, or like someone is pulling out their hair? Give opera a chance. Or remember, opera might be a taste you develop as you grow older, like eating spinach.
Opera Notes
The shortest opera is seven minutes long, Dafne by Marco da Gagliano. (Sounds about right.)
The longest opera is eighteen hours long, Ring Cycle, by Wagner.     (Please, I’ll eat my spinach!)

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