Opera is a form of art where the composers, singers, and musicians dramatize their performance. There are spoken dialogues in aid of plot construction, but characters sing the entire story. Lighting techniques are used to create convincing stories that entertain the audience through solo and choral singing, dancing and acting on staged spectacle. Opera incorporates elements of spoken theatre and is part of classical music in the western traditions. It is performed in an opera house with the accompaniment of an orchestra or ensemble of smaller musical. At the end of 16th century in Italy, opera started and spread throughout Europe. Purcell from England and Lully from France in the 17th century established their national tradition. The first opera to have endured to the present was Euridice a work by Peri.
Never the less, the first opera to have the honor to be regularly performed is that of Monteverdi, which was composed for Mantua court in 1607. Mantua court was significant in origin of the opera by employing court singers (Tomlinson, 1990). Opera in 1637 changed it course when it got out of the court’s audience and reached the public. In 1640s, Monteverdi moved from the city of Mantua and composed operas for Venetian theatre, which were his last operas. Francesco a follower of Monteverdi helped in the spread of the opera all over Italy. 17th century marked an era of blending broad comedy with tragic elements. Opera-inside-opera a sort of unfolding plot of comic emerged, which attempted to attract the growing merchant class members to the opera house.
Opera seria elevated in tone and high, stylish form in consistence of secco recitative that had da capo arias that were long. In the 18th century, Farinelli became a famous singer. This made the Baroque standards to be set by the Italian opera. The Italian Libretti became the norm and dominated classical period. Handel, a German composer, found himself writing for audiences of London since the Italians’ became the leading opera writers. A theater in Hamburg in between 17th and 18th century presented Handel’s opera and other Germans. Never the less, Handel, and other German composers at that time wrote their operas in Italian a foreign language. This was a norm, which dominated the classical period; therefore, they have to deliver what was most preferred.
The first Italian opera dominated Europe in the 18the century attracting foreign composers except in France (Cowart, 1989). Mozart was one of the insightful opera perform in the 18th century. He was most famous for Italian comic operas. Mozart got high inspiration and influence from Gluck ideas, and he became his successor. He combined drama of superb sense, comedies of counter point written series, melody, and harmony. His comic operas included the marriage Figaro, cos fan tutte, the magic flute and don Giovanni (Burton, 2005). Mozart and other opera musicians from Germany in the late 18th century played important roles. They created a breakthrough for German’s opera international recognition.
19th century was a high point of style of bel canto with Rossini who created works that are performed even today. Bel canto opera were derived from stylistic singing school of Italian with the same name. The bel canto lines are intricate and normally florid; therefore, require ultimate agility and control of pitch. This century was a golden age, which was dominated by Verdi in Italy and Wagner in Germany. After bel canto era was over, a forceful style that was more direct erupted and led to a different era of 19th Century.
Monteverdi wrote more of religious music with inspirational stories. The religious song gave Monteverdi other inspiration to more pieces. He was also a writer of madrigals (Tomlinson, 1990). Mozart another opera musician was famous for his religious music. The bishop called upon Mozart to write and perform mass. Additionally, he told fairly-tales and sung love songs. His music was vividly sung, and the drama flowed (Burton, 2005). The operas were done in solos and choruses at other points. They were stories of real life and fantasies in the form of tales well narrated. The religious ones handled well-known stories, which were inspirational to the believer audience.
Operatic performers preferred voices with volume to stand above overwhelming orchestra’s volume. They needed special electronic devices and microphones for amplifying their voices and anytime whenever they lacked the devices they had to think of other techniques. Singing techniques were developed to ensure that all the audience could hear them. They made sure that they stood above the orchestra without compromising their volume. Voices were set in such way that they could lay down the mood of the tale as it is told. Variation was set well to create the emotions of the characters in the music. The various were also set in a way that they could outlay and create more hummer for the sake of entrainment. Male singers’ vocal ranges were the countertenor, tenor, bass, baritone, and bass baritone. While the female singers vocal ranges were, soprano, mezzo-soprano and contralto.
In conclusion, 18th century up to date opera remains the most sensational music with pieces of great writers the likes of, Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Monteverdi, and Beethoven among others. They remain inspirational and their music has been experienced from on century to another. They were able to stand time and overcome all the obstacle even of language. They told different stories that were meant to entertain and inspire the audience.