List of opera genres

This is a glossary list of opera genres, giving alternative names.

The Paris foire St Germain, c. 1763, after the fire of 1762
Nicolet's theatre at the foire St Laurent, c. 1786
In the early 18th century, the Théâtre de la foire in Paris – a collective name for the theatres at the annual fairs at St Germain, St Laurent (see illustration above) and later, St Ovide – offered performances with both music and spoken dialogue. First called comédie en vaudeville, these developed into the opéra comique. The Théâtre de la foire appeared in London in the 1720s, to be imitated in the form of the English ballad opera, which in turn stimulated the creation of the German Singspiel.

"Opera" is an Italian word (short for "opera in musica"); it was not at first commonly used in Italy (or in other countries) to refer to the genre of particular works. Most composers used more precise designations to present their work to the public. Often specific genres of opera were commissioned by theatres or patrons (in which case the form of the work might deviate more or less from the genre norm, depending on the inclination of the composer). Opera genres are not exclusive. Some operas are regarded as belonging to several.[1]


Opera genres have been defined in different ways, not always in terms of stylistic rules. Some, like opera seria, refer to traditions identified by later historians,[2] and others, like Zeitoper, have been defined by their own inventors. Other forms have been associated with a particular theatre, for example opéra comique at the theatre of the same name, or opéra bouffe at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens.

This list does not include terms that are vague and merely descriptive, such as "comic opera",[3] "sacred opera", "tragic opera" or "one-act opera" etc. Original language terms are given to avoid the ambiguities that would be caused by English translations.


GenreLanguageDescriptionFirst known exampleMajor worksLast known exampleNotable composersRefs.
Acte de balletFrenchAn opéra ballet consisting of a single entrée. 18th century.Les fêtes de Ramire (1745), Anacréon (1754),Rameau[4]
AfterpieceEnglish18th/19th century short opera or pantomime performed after a full-length play.The Padlock (1768)Dibdin[4]
Azione sacraItalianLiterally, "sacred action". 17th and early 18th century opera with religious subject. Performed at Vienna court.L'humanità redenta (Draghi, 1669)Draghi, Bertali, Pietro Andrea Ziani, Giovanni Battista Pederzuoli, Cesti[4]
Azione sepolcraleItalianalternative name for azione sacra[4]
Azione scenicaItalianalternative name for azione teatraleAl gran sole carico d'amore (1975)[4]
Azione teatrale (plural azioni teatrali)ItalianSmall-scale one-act opera, or musical play. Early form of chamber opera. Popular in late 17th and 18th centuries. (See also festa teatrale, a similar genre but on a larger scale.)Le cinesi (1754), Il sogno di Scipione (1772), L'isola disabitata (1779)Bonno, Gluck, Mozart, Haydn[4]
Ballad operaEnglishEntertainment originating in 18th-century London as a reaction against Italian opera. Early examples used existing popular ballad tunes set to satirical texts. Also popular in Dublin and America, Influenced the German Singspiel, and subsequently 20th-century opera.The Beggar's Opera (1728)Love in a Village (1762), Hugh the Drover (1924), The Threepenny Opera (1928)Pepusch, Coffey, Arne, Weill[4]
Ballet héroïqueFrenchLiterally 'heroic ballet'. A type of opéra ballet featuring the heroic and exotic, of the early/mid 18th century.Les festes grecques et romaines (Colin de Blamont, 1723)Zaïde, reine de Grenade (1739), Les fêtes de Paphos (1758)Royer, Mondonville, Mion[4]
BühnenfestspielGermanLiterally, "stage festival play". Wagner's description of the four operas of Der Ring des NibelungenWagner[4]
BühnenweihfestspielGermanLiterally, "stage consecration festival play". Wagner's description for ParsifalWagner[4]
BurlaItalianalternative name for burletta[4]
BurlettaItalianLiterally, "little joke". Informal term for comic pieces in the 18th century. Used in England for intermezzos and light, satirical works.The Recruiting Serjeant (1770)Dibdin[4]
Burletta per musicaItalianalternative name for burlettaIl vero originale (Mayr 1808)
BurlettinaItalianalternative name for burletta[4]
CharacterposseGermanSpecialized form of Posse mit Gesang concentrating on personalities.[4]
Comédie en vaudevilleFrenchEntertainment in Paris fair theatres at the end of the 17th century, mixing popular vaudeville songs with comedy. In the 18th century, developed into the opéra comique, while influencing directly the English ballad opera and indirectly the German Singspiel.
Comédie lyriqueFrenchLiterally, "lyric comedy". 18th century: description used by Rameau. 19th century: alternative name for opéra lyrique.Platée (1745), Les Paladins (1760)Rameau[5]
Comédie mêlée d'ariettesFrenchLiterally, "comedy mixed with brief arias". An early form of French opéra comique dating to the mid 18th century.La rencontre imprévue (1764), Tom Jones (1765), Le déserteur (1769), Zémire et Azor (1771), Le congrès des rois (Cherubini et al., 1794)Gluck, Grétry
CommediaItalianabbreviation of commedia in musicaIl barbiere di Siviglia (1816)
Commedia in musicaItalianalternative name for opera buffa[6]
Commedia per musicaItalianalternative name for opera buffaLa pastorella nobile (1788)[6]
Componimento da cameraItalianalternative name for azione teatrale[4]
Componimento drammaticoItalianalternative name for azione teatrale[4]
Componimento pastoraleItalianalternative name for azione teatraleLa danza (Gluck, 1755)Gluck[4]
Conte lyriqueFrenchalternative name for opéra lyriqueGrisélidis (Massenet, 1901)[4]
Divertimento giocosoItalianalternative name for opera buffa[6]
Dramatic (or dramatick) operaEnglishalternative name for semi-opera
Drame forainFrenchalternative name for Comédie en vaudeville[4]
Drame lyriqueFrenchLiterally, "lyric drama". (1) Term used in the 18th century. (2) Reinvented in the late 19th/early 20th century to describe opera that developed out of opéra comique, influenced by Massenet.Echo et Narcisse (1779), La marquise de Brinvilliers (1831), Werther (1892), Briséïs (1897), Messidor (1897) Gluck, Chabrier, Bruneau, Erlanger[4]
Dramma bernescoItalianalternative name for opera buffa[6]
Dramma comicoItalianalternative name for opera buffa, 18th/early 19th century. Also used for the genre that replaced it from mid 19th century, with the elimination of recitatives.[6]
Dramma comico per musicaItalianalternative name for dramma comico
Dramma di sentimentoItalianalternative name for opera semiseria[4]
Dramma eroicomicoItalianLiterally "heroic-comic drama". A late 18th century opera buffa with some heroic content.Orlando paladino (1782), Palmira, regina di Persia (1795)Haydn, Salieri[4]
Dramma giocoso (plural drammi giocosi)ItalianLiterally, "jocular drama". Mid 18th century form that developed out of the opera buffa, marked by the addition of serious, even tragic roles and situations to the comic ones. (Effectively a subgenre of opera buffa in the 18th century.) [7]La scuola de' gelosi (1778), La vera costanza (1779), Il viaggio a Reims (1825),Haydn, Mozart, Salieri, Sarti, Rossini, Donizetti[4]
Dramma giocoso per musicaItalianfull term for dramma giocoso
Dramma pastoraleItalianLiterally, "pastoral drama". Used for some of the earliest operas down to the 18th century.Eumelio (Agazzari, 1606), La fede riconosciuta (A Scarlatti, 1710)A Scarlatti, Sarti[4]
Dramma per musica (plural drammi per musica)ItalianLiterally, "drama for music", or "a play intended to be set to music" (i.e. a libretto). Later, synonymous with opera seria and dramma serio per musica;[8] in the 19th century, sometimes used for serious opera.Erismena (1656), Tito Manlio (1719), Paride ed Elena (1770), Idomeneo (1781), Rossini's Otello (1816)A Scarlatti, Cavalli, Vivaldi, Sarti, Gluck, Mozart[4]
Dramma semiserioItalianalternative name for opera semiseriaTorvaldo e Dorliska (1815)
Dramma tragicomicoItalianalternative name for opera semiseria.Axur, re d'Ormus (1787)[4]
Entr'acteFrenchFrench name for intermezzo[4]
Episode lyriqueFrenchalternative name for opéra lyrique[4]
Fait historiqueFrenchLate 18th/19th century. Opéra or opéra comique based on French history, especially popular during the revolution.L'incendie du Havre (1786)Joseph Barra (Grétry 1794), Le pont de Lody (Méhul 1797), Milton (1804)Grétry, Méhul, Spontini[4][9]
Farsa (plural farse)ItalianLiterally, "farce". A form of one-act opera, sometimes with dancing, associated with Venice, especially the Teatro San Moisè, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.La cambiale di matrimonio (1810), L'inganno felice (1812), La scala di seta (1812), Il signor Bruschino (1813), Adina (1818)Rossini[10]
FarsettaItalianalternative name for farsa[10]
FeenmärchenGermanalternative name for Märchenoper[11]
Favola in musicaItalianEarliest form of operaDafne (1598)L'Orfeo (1607)Monteverdi
Festa teatraleItalianA grander version of the azione teatrale. An opera given as part of a court celebration (of a marriage etc.) Typically associated with Vienna.Il pomo d'oro (Cesti, 1668)Draghi, Fux, Caldara[4]
Geistliche OperGermanLiterally, "sacred opera". Genre invented by the Russian composer Anton Rubinstein for his German-language, staged opera-oratorios.Das verlorene Paradies (Rubinstein, 1856)Der Thurm zu Babel (1870), Sulamith (1883), Moses (1894)Christus (Rubinstein, 1895)Rubinstein[12]
Género chicoSpanishLiterally, "little genre". A type of zarzuela, differing from zarzuela grande by its brevity and popular appeal.Ruperto Chapí
Género grandeSpanishalternative name for zarzuela grande
Grand opéraFrench19th-century genre, usually with 4 or 5 acts, large-scale casts and orchestras, and spectacular staging, often based on historical themes. Particularly associated with the Paris Opéra (1820s to c. 1850), but similar works were created in other countries.La muette de Portici (1828)Robert le diable (1831), La Juive (1835), Les Huguenots (1836)Patrie! (Paladilhe, 1886)Meyerbeer, Halévy, Verdi
HandlungGermanLiterally "action" or "drama". Wagner's description for Tristan und Isolde. Wagner
IntermezzoItalianComic relief inserted between acts of opere serie in the early 18th century, typically involving slapstick, disguises etc. Spread throughout Europe In the 1730s. Predated Opera buffa.Frappolone e Florinetta (Gasparini?, 1706)La serva padrona (1733)Pergolesi, Hasse[13]
LiederspielGermanLiterally "song-play". Early 19th century genre in which existing lyrics, often well-known, were set to new music and inserted into a spoken play.Lieb' und Treue (Reichardt, 1800)Kunst und Liebe (Reichardt, 1807)Reichardt Lindpaintner[14]
LokalposseGermanSpecialized form of Posse mit Gesang concentrating on daily life themes, associated with the playwright Karl von Marinelli.[4]
MärchenoperGerman"Fairy-tale opera", a genre of 19th century opera usually with a supernatural theme. Similar to Zauberoper.Hänsel und Gretel (1893)Humperdinck, Siegfried Wagner[11]
MärchenspielGermanalternative name for Märchenoper[11]
MelodrammaItalian19th century. General term for opera sometimes used instead of more specific genres.[15]
Melodramma serioItalianalternative name for opera seria
MusikdramaGermanTerm associated with the later operas of Wagner but repudiated by him.[16] Nevertheless, widely used by post-Wagnerian composers.Tiefland (1903), Salome (1905), Der Golem (d'Albert 1926)d'Albert, Richard Strauss[4][16]
OpéraFrenchReferring to individual works: 1. 18th century. Occasionally used for operas outside specific, standard genres. 2. 19th/20th century: an opéra is a "French lyric stage work sung throughout" [17] in contrast to an opéra comique that mixed singing with spoken dialogue. Opéra (which included grand opéra), was associated with the Paris Opéra (the Opéra). Also used for some works with a serious tone at the Opéra-Comique.Naïs (1749), Fernand Cortez (1809), Moïse et Pharaon (1827), Les vêpres siciliennes (1855), Roméo et Juliette (1867)Grétry, Spontini, Rossini, Verdi, Gounod[17]
Opéra-balletFrenchGenre with more dancing than tragédie en musique. Usually with a prologue and a number of self-contained acts (called entrées), following a theme.L'Europe galante (1697)Les élémens (1721), Les Indes galantes (1735), Les fêtes d'Hébé (1739)Destouches, Rameau[4]
Opera balloItalian19th-century Italian grand opéra.Il Guarany (1870), Aida (1871), La Gioconda (opera) (1876)Gomes, Verdi, Ponchielli[18]
Opera buffa (plural, opere buffe)ItalianMajor genre of comic opera in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Originating in Naples (especially the Teatro dei Fiorentini), its popularity spread during the 1730s, notably to Venice where development was influenced by the playwright/librettist Goldoni. Typically in three acts, unlike the intermezzo. Contrasting in style, subject matter, and the use of dialect with the formal, aristocratic opera seria.La Cilla (Michelangelo Faggioli, 1706)Li zite 'ngalera (1722), Il filosofo di campagna (Galuppi, 1754), La buona figliuola (1760), Le nozze di Figaro (1786), Il barbiere di Siviglia (1816), Don Pasquale (1843)Crispino e la comare (1850)Vinci, Galuppi, Duni, Piccinni, Sacchini, Salieri, Mozart, Rossini[6]
Opéra bouffe (plural, opéras bouffes)FrenchComic genre of opérette including satire, parody and farce. Closely connected with Offenbach and the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens where most of them were produced.Orphée aux enfers (1858)La belle Hélène (1864), La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867), La Périchole (1868)Les mamelles de Tirésias (1947)Offenbach, Hervé, Lecocq[19]
Opéra bouffonFrenchOpera buffa as performed in 18th-century France, either in the original language or in translation. (Sometimes confused with opéra comique.)Le roi Théodore à Venise (Paisiello, 1786)[20]
Opéra comique (plural, opéras comiques)FrenchLiterally, 'comic opera'. Genre including arias, a certain amount of spoken dialogue (and sometimes recitatives). Closely associated with works written for the Paris Opéra-Comique. Themes included were serious and tragic, as well as light. Tradition developed from popular early 18th century comédies en vaudevilles and lasted into 20th century with many changes in style.Télémaque (Jean-Claude Gillier, 1715)Les troqueurs (1753), La dame blanche (1825), Carmen (1875), Lakmé (1883)Philidor, Monsigny, Grétry, Boieldieu, Auber,[4]
Opéra comique en vaudevilleFrenchalternative name for comédie en vaudeville
Opéra féerie (plural, opéras féeries)French18th/19th century genre of works based on fairy tales, often involving magic. Zémire et Azor (1771), Cendrillon (1810), La belle au bois dormant (1825)Carafa, Isouard[21]
Opéra lyriqueFrenchLiterally, "lyric opera". Late 18th/19th century, less grandiose than grand opéra, but without the spoken dialogue of opéra comique. (Term applied more to the genre as a whole than individual operas.)Gounod, Ambroise Thomas, Massenet[4]
Opera semiseriaItalianLiterally, "semi-serious opera". Early/mid 19th century genre employing comedy but also, unlike opera buffa, pathos, often with a pastoral setting. Typically included a basso buffo role.Camilla (Paer, 1799)La gazza ladra (1817), Linda di Chamounix (1842)Violetta (Mercadante, 1853)Paer, Rossini, Donizetti[22]
Opera seria (plural, opere serie)ItalianLiterally, "serious opera". Dominant style of opera in the 18th century, not only in Italy but throughout Europe (except France). Rigorously formal works using texts, mainly based on ancient history, by poet-librettists led by Metastasio. Patronized by the court and the nobility. Star singers were often castrati.Griselda (1721), Cleofide (Hasse, 1731), Ariodante (1735), Alceste (1767), La clemenza di Tito (1791)Alessandro Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Hasse, Handel, Gluck, Mozart[4][2]
Opéra-tragédieFrenchalternative name for tragédie en musique[23]
OperettaEnglish (from Italian)Literally, "little opera". Derived from English versions of Offenbach's opéras bouffes performed in London in the 1860s. Some of the earliest native operettas in English were written by Frederic Clay and Sullivan. (W. S. Gilbert and Sullivan wished to distinguish their joint works from continental operetta and later called them "comic operas" or Savoy operas).Cox and Box (1866)Princess Toto (1876), Rip Van Winkle (1882), Naughty Marietta (1910), Monsieur Beaucaire (1919), The Student Prince (1924), The Vagabond King (1925)Candide (1956)Sullivan, Herbert, Romberg, Friml, Leonard Bernstein[24]
Opérette (plural, opérettes)FrenchFrench operetta. Original genre of light (both of music and subject matter) opera that grew out of the French opéra comique in the mid 19th century. Associated with the style of the Second Empire by the works of Offenbach, though his best-known examples are designated subgenerically as opéras bouffes.L'ours et le pacha (Hervé, 1842)Madame Papillon (Offenbach, 1855), Les mousquetaires au couvent (1880), Les p'tites Michu (1897), Ciboulette (1923)Hervé, Offenbach, Varney, Messager, Hahn[24]
Opérette bouffeFrenchSubgenre of French opérette.La bonne d'enfant (1856), M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le . . . (1861)Offenbach[24]
Opérette vaudeville (or vaudeville opérette)FrenchSubgenre of French opérette.L'ours et le pacha (Hervé, 1842)Mam'zelle Nitouche (1883)Hervé, Victor Roger[24]
Operette (plural, operetten)GermanGerman operetta. Popular Viennese genre during the 19th and 20th centuries, created under the influence of Offenbach and spread to Berlin, Budapest, and other German and east European cities.Das Pensionat (Suppé, 1860)Die Fledermaus (1874), The Merry Widow (1905), Das Land des Lächelns (1929)Frühjahrsparade (Robert Stolz, 1964)Johann Strauss II, Lehár, Oscar Straus[24]
PasticcioItalianLiterally "a pie" or a hotchpotch. An adaptation or localization of an existing work that is loose, unauthorized, or inauthentic. Also used for a single work by a number of different composers, particularly in early 18th-century London.Thomyris (Pepusch, Bononcini, Scarlatti, Gasparini, Albinoni, 1707) Muzio Scevola (1721), Ivanhoé (1826)Handel, Vivaldi[4]
Pièce lyriqueFrenchalternative name for opéra lyrique[4]
Pastorale héroïqueFrenchType of ballet héroïque (opéra-ballet). Usually in three acts with an allegorical prologue, that typically drew on classical themes associated with pastoral poetry.Acis et Galatée (1686)Issé (1697), Zaïs (1748), Naïs (1749)Lully, Rameau[25]
PosseGermanalternative name for Posse mit Gesang[4]
Posse mit Gesang (plural Possen mit Gesang)GermanLiterally, "farce with singing". Popular entertainment of late 18th/early 19th centuries, associated with Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg. Similar to the Singspiel, but with more action and less music. Re-invented in the early 20th century by Walter Kollo and others.Der Alpenkönig und der Menschenfeind (Raimund, 1828), Filmzauber (1912)Kreutzer, Müller, Schubert, Walter Kollo[4]
PossenspielGermanearly name for Posse mit Gesang[4]
PossenspilGermanearly name for Posse mit Gesang[4]
Radio operaEnglishWorks written specifically for the medium of radio.The Red Pen (1925)The Willow Tree (Cadman, 1932), Die schwarze Spinne (Sutermeister, 1936), Comedy on the Bridge (1937), The Old Maid and the Thief (1939), Il prigioniero (1949), I due timidi (1950)Martinů, Sutermeister, Menotti, Dallapiccola, Rota[26]
Rappresentazione sacraItalianalternative name for azione sacra[27]
Rescue operaFrenchEarly nineteenth century transitional genre between opéra comique, Romantic opera, and grand opera, featuring the rescue of a main character; called opéra à sauvetage in French, and Rettunsoper or Befreiungsoper in German (also Schrekensoper)Les rigueurs du cloître (Henri Montan Berton, 1790) or Lodoïska (1791); some antecedents whose inclusion in the genre is debatedFidelio, Lodoïska, Les deux journéesDalibor (1868)Cherubini, Dalayrac, Le Sueur[4]
Romantische OperGermanEarly 19th-century German genre derived from earlier French opéras comiques, dealing with "German" themes of nature, the supernatural, folklore etc. Spoken dialogue, originally included with musical numbers, was eventually eliminated in works by Richard Wagner.Der Freischütz (1821)Hans Heiling (1833), Undine (1845), Tannhäuser (1845)Lohengrin (1850)Weber, Marschner, Lortzing, Wagner[4]
SaineteSpanishLiterally, "farce" or "titbit". 17th/18th century genre of comic opera similar to the Italian intermezzo, performed together with larger works. Popular in Madrid in the latter 18th century. During the 19th century, the Sainete was synonymous with género chico.Il mago (1632)Pablo Esteve, Soler, Antonio Rosales[4][28]
SainetilloSpanishDiminutive of sainete[28]
Savoy operaEnglish19th-century form of operetta[29] (sometimes referred to as a form of "comic opera" to distance the English genre from the continental) comprising the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and other works from 1877 to 1903 that played at the Opera Comique and then the Savoy Theatre in London. These influenced the rise of musical theatre.Trial by Jury (1875)H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1880), The Mikado (1885), The Gondoliers (1889), Merrie England (1902)A Princess of Kensington (1903)Sullivan, Solomon, German[29]
SaynèteFrenchFrench for sainete. Description used for a particular style of opérette in the 19th century.La caravane de l'amour (Hervé, 1854), Le rêve d'une nuit d'été (Offenbach, 1855), Le valet de coeur (Planquette, 1875)Hervé, Offenbach, Planquette[28]
Schauspiel mit GesangGermanLiterally, "play with singing". Term used by Goethe for his early libretti, though he called them Singspiele when revising them.Erwin und Elmire (Goethe 1775)Liebe nur beglückt (Reichardt, 1781), Die Teufels Mühle am Wienerberg (Müller 1799)[30]
SchuloperGermanLiterally, "school opera". Early 20th century, opera created for performance by school children.Der Jasager (1930), Wir bauen eine Stadt (Hindemith, 1930)Weill, Hindemith[31]
Semi-operaEnglishEarly form of opera with singing, speaking and dancing roles. Popular between 1673 and 1710.The Tempest (Betterton, 1674)Psyche (1675), King Arthur (1691), The Fairy-Queen (1692)Purcell[4]
SepolcroItalianAzione sacra on the subject of the passion and crucifixion of Christ.Draghi[27]
SerenataItalianLiterally, "evening song". Short opera performed at court for celebrations, similar to the azione teatrale. (Also used to refer to serenades.)Acis and Galatea (1720), Il Parnaso confuso (Gluck 1765)Handel, Gluck[4]
Singspiel (plural Singspiele)GermanLiterally, "sing play". Popular genre of the 18th/19th centuries, (though the term is also found as early as the 16th century). Derived originally from translations of English ballad operas, but also influenced by French opéra comique. Spoken dialogue, combined with ensembles, folk-coloured ballads and arias. Originally performed by traveling troupes. Plots generally comic or romantic, often including magic. Developed into German "rescue opera" and romantische Oper.Der Teufel ist los (Johann Georg Standfuss, 1752)Die verwandelten Weiber (1766), Die Jagd (1770), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782), Abu Hassan (1811)Hiller, Mozart, Weber[4][30]
SituationsposseGermanSpecialized form of Posse mit Gesang concentrating on social situations.[4]
SongspielGermanLiterally, "song play" ("Song" being the English word as used in German, e.g. by Brecht, etc.) Term invented by Kurt Weill to update the concept of SingspielMahagonny-Songspiel (1927)Kurt Weill[4]
SpieloperGermanLiterally, "opera play". 19th-century light opera genre, derived from Singspiel and to a lesser extent opéra comique, containing spoken dialogue. Spieltenor and Spielbass are specialized voice types connected with the genre.Zar und Zimmermann (1837), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1849)Lortzing, Nicolai[4]
SyngespilDanishLocal form of Singspiel. Late 18th/19th century.Soliman den Anden (Sarti, 1770), Holger Danske (1787), Høstgildet (Schulz, 1790)Sarti, Schulz, Kunzen[4]
Television operaEnglishWorks written specifically for the medium of television.Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951)The Marriage (1953), Owen Wingrave (1971), Man on the Moon (2006)Menotti, Martinů, Sutermeister, Britten[32]
TonadillaSpanishLiterally, "little tune". 18th century miniature satirical genre, for one or more singer, that developed out of the sainete. Performed in between longer works.La mesonera y el arriero (Luis Misón, 1757)Antonio Guerrero, Misón, José Palomino[4]
TragédieFrenchalternative name for tragédie en musique[23]
Tragédie en musiqueFrench17th/18th century lyric genre with themes from Classical mythology and the Italian epics of Tasso and Ariosto, not necessarily with tragic outcomes. Usually 5 acts, sometimes with a prologue. Short arias (petits airs) contrast with dialogue in recitative, with choral sections and dancing.Cadmus et Hermione (1673)Médée (1693), Scylla et Glaucus (1746)Lully, Marais, Montéclair, Campra, Rameau[4][23]
Tragédie lyriqueFrenchalternative name for tragédie en musique[23]
Tragédie mise en musiqueFrenchalternative name for tragédie en musique[23]
Tragédie-opéraFrenchalternative name for tragédie en musique[23]
VerismoItalianLate 19th/early 20th century opera movement inspired by literary naturalism and realism, and associated with Italian post-romanticism.Cavalleria rusticana (1890)Pagliacci (1892), Tosca (1900)Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Puccini, Giordano[4]
VolksmärchenGermanalternative name for Märchenoper.Das Donauweibchen (Kauer 1798)[11]
ZarzuelaSpanishDating back to the 17th century and forward to the present day, this form includes both singing and spoken dialogue, also dance. Local traditions are also found in Cuba and the Philippines.La selva sin amor (Lope de Vega, 1627)Doña Francisquita (1923), La dolorosa (1930), Luisa Fernanda (1932)Hidalgo, Barbieri[4]
ZauberoperGermanLiterally, "magic opera". Late 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly associated with Vienna. Heavier, more formal work than Zauberposse, but also with spoken dialogue.Oberon, König der Elfen (Wranitzky, 1789)Die Zauberflöte (1791), Das Donauweibchen, (Kauer, 1798)Kauer, Müller, Schubert[4]
ZauberposseGermanSpecialized form of Posse mit Gesang concentrating on magic.Der Barometermacher auf der Zauberinsel (Müller 1823)Müller[4]
Zeitoper (plural Zeitopern)GermanLiterally, "opera of the times". 1920s, early 1930s genre, using contemporary settings and characters, including references to modern technology and popular music.Jonny spielt auf (1927), Neues vom Tage (1929)Krenek, Weill, Hindemith[33]
ZwischenspielGermanGerman name for intermezzoPimpinone (1725)[4]

See also

  • Operas by genre

The following cover other forms of entertainment that existed around the time of the appearance of the first operas in Italy at the end of the 16th century, which were influential in the development of the art form:


  1. For example, Don Giovanni is regularly referred to as both a dramma giocoso and an opera buffa; Mozart himself called the work an opera buffa.
  2. McClymonds, Marita P and Heartz, Daniel: "Opera seria" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  3. "A general name for an operatic work in which the prevailing mood is one of comedy." Warrack John; Ewan West, The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, (1992), ISBN 0-19-869164-5
  4. Warrack, John and West, Ewan (1992), The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 782 pages, ISBN 0-19-869164-5
  5. Sadler, Graham: Rameau, Jean-Philippe in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  6. Weiss, Piero and Budden, Julian (1992): "Opera buffa" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  7. Mozart's Don Giovanni, a typical dramma giocoso, was called an opera buffa.
  8. Dent, Edward J. "The Nomenclature of Opera-I", Music & Letters, Vol. 25, No. 3 (July 1944), pp. 132–140 (subscription required)
  9. Bartlet, M Elizabeth C: Fait historique in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  10. Bryant, David (1992): Farsa in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  11. Millington, Barry: Märchenoper in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  12. Taruskin, Richard: Sacred opera in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  13. Troy, Charles E and Weiss, Piero (1992), "Intermezzo" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  14. Branscombe, Peter (1992), "Liederspiel" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  15. Budden, Julian: "Melodramma" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  16. Millington, Barry: Music drama in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  17. Bartlet, M Elizabeth C: Opéra in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  18. Sadie, Stanley (ed) (1992), 'Opera ballo' in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  19. Bartlet, M Elizabeth C: Opéra bouffe in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  20. Bartlet, M Elizabeth C: Opéra bouffon in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  21. Bartlet, M Elizabeth C: Opéra féerie in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  22. Budden, Julian: "Opera semiseria" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  23. Sadler, Graham (1992), "Tragédie en musique" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  24. Lamb, Andrew (1992), "Operetta" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  25. Sadie, Stanley ed. (1992), "Pastorale-héroïque" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  26. Salter, Lionel (1992), "Radio" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  27. Smither, Howard E (1992), "Sepolcro" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  28. Alier, Roger (1992), "Sainete" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  29. Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  30. Bauman, Thomas (1992), "Singspiel" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  31. Kemp, Ian (1992), Schuloper" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  32. Salter, Lionel (1992), "Television" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  33. Sadie, Stanley (ed) (1992), "Zeitoper" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
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