Opera ABCs

What we are here calling the opera ABCs could in fact be described as the Opera PQRs. Knowledge of operatic terminology and history is both foundational and completely unnecessary. You don't need to know any of this to enjoy opera. It does however help and you can only get so far in your development as a cognoscenti without knowing the basics.

Baroque opera performance

History

With 400 years to cover, it's easy to get lost. We hope our timeline will provide you a way into working out Baroque from Romantic, Handel from Glass.

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Anna Netrebko singing

Voices

Singing's what opera is all about and the vast range of voices provide endless depth and variety. But what's a soprano and how do they differ from a Baritone?

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opera terminology wordcloud

Glossary

Opera's a world with its own language. You'll hear plenty of terms tossed about: but what do they all mean? You can look them up right here!

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An opera fan with binoculars

Running Times

Operas can be long. They can also be short. It's worth knowing which before you book your train home. Get the run times on more than 100 operas.

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Twenty Four Italian Songs

Arias

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.

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