Opera is mostly sung, and that singing is sometimes in the form of an aria. Learn about the different forms, with a bit of history and lots of examples.
The Bayreuth Festival, founded by Richard Wagner and devoted to his works. An opera festival like no other, running for a short summer season every year.
Since its beginnings in 16th Century Italy, operas have been written the world over by men and women with different political, cultural and emotional backgrounds.
The common stereotype of opera rarely involves people singing in English. Yet it would be foolish to discount opera in English. English language opera has a long, if decidedly uneven, history.
Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is a radiant example of Russian Lyric Opera. A deeply moving tale packed with big tunes, dances and a heart-stopping duel.
Opera can seem like a foreign language sometimes — even when the opera’s in English! This glossary should give you a hand with the occasionally tricky vocabulary.
The Glyndebourne Festival, running each Summer from May to August, is one of those institutions whose existence says much about the glorious eccentricity of the British. A country mansion with a world class opera house tacked on the side.
Puccini at his most restrained. A single setting, a relatively simple plot, and a strongly drawn lead pair around whom the emotionally gripping narrative spins.
The Metropolitan Opera (known usually as just the "Met") in New York City is the 800 pound gorilla of the operatic world. A huge auditorium, 3800 seats, and a vast stage mean that shows here tend to be enormous in scale.
An evening of pure magic. A show that rewards repeat viewings whilst still managing to be instantly accessible. Genuinely funny and a deliciously romantic evening too.
A basic overview of the four hundred years of operatic history. From the Baroque to the present.
Though it might seem like a silly question, what exactly is an opera? There's no easy answer. The common conception of opera might be fat women in horned helmets but the reality is it's an art form not all that easily pinned down.
Operatic voices can be classified by a variety of means. The German Fach system is the predominant one and the one we cover here. From Basses to Countertenors, Contraltos to Sopranos.
Peter Grimes is a big opera with a very tight focus. There are huge choral scenes and a large cast of supporting players but the work holds fast to Grimes himself.
Following on from Verdi, Puccini was the final great Romantic composer bringing 20th Century influences into his later works. A writer of wonderful tunes and operas that'll make you laugh and cry.
One of the most exciting and gritty operas, Rigoletto is not for the faint-hearted. The censors of the time had real issues with Rigoletto’s content and it’s not really hard to see why!
The Royal Opera is one of the world's leading opera companies and the most important in London. The current music director is Antonio Pappano with Kasper Holten the Director of Opera.
Are all operas long? Well the shortest we know of, L'Enlèvement d'Europe, is a mere 8 minutes! The longest however... is really quite long!
An operatic horror story, The Turn of the Screw is a skin crawling beauty. An exploration of innocence corrupted, a descent into despair and madness.
Tosca is one of the most lethal of operas. None of the central characters make it to the end alive, hero or villain. Puccini takes an overtly theatrical tale and makes it astonishingly moving.
La Traviata is one of the cornerstones of the operatic repertory. The taut plot and vivid characters paired with Verdi’s perfectly attuned music tend to result in few dry eyes by the end of Act III.
Turandot is Puccini’s final opera (unfinished at his death) and perhaps as a result, it is by far and away his most musically adventurous.
Verdi dominated Italian opera for much of the 19th Century and he still dominates our opera stages today. He turned out hit after hit and their timeless brilliance shines today.