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Opera is considered classical music. so is ballet. One of the first operas that I had heard of is Barber of Seville (Il Barber Di Seville) which was on a 78 RPM. My dad had some records of Enrico Caruso and Feodore Challiapin. They were early opera singers at the dawn of recording. Everybody has heard of the "3 Tenors" A Tenor is a range of voice. I have heard some of the Recordig of opera Singers from when recordings came out. No offense to any body is a decendent of any of these people but they do not stack up to the singers of today. Their voices sounded different. They would probably not make it if they were around today. Most of them had heavy accents.
Barber of seville is a comic opera of the Bel Canto tradition. It was written by Rossini (1792-1868) Who also wrote the William Tell Overture of Lone Ranger fame. Barber of Seville has one of the mst famous aris "Figero" it was played on one of the Bugs Bunny films. Loony Toons also used classical music.
Bel Canto means 'beautiful singing". It is an Itlaian word. many music terms are of Italian origin. Bel Canto was a movement of sorts in opera in the 18th and 19th centuries in Italy it deltmainly with comic opera. Another composer who delt with Bel Canto was Geotin Donnizetti (1797-1848) His most famous opera was Lucia Di lamimore which was based on a novel by Scotish writer Sit Walter Scott. He wrote many other operas also wrote symphonies and string quartets. Vincinzio Bellini (1891-1835) also wrote in the Bel Canto tradition. For more on Bel Canto see the article on Bel Canto in Wikipedia.
Opera also involves a lot of sex and fighting. Some operas could be rated "R" or "X". and some people think that rock and roll lyrics are bad. Opera has nothing to do with soap operas. They name came about because in the 1920's readio shows of this type were sponsored by soap companies. I have never been in to soap operas. Wagner(1813-1883) and Verdi (1813-1901) were important opera compsers in the 19th century. Their operas were more realistic and more complicated than earlier operas. Various countries in Europe in the 18th and 19th centruies developed their own types of opera.
In the late 19th century a form of opera called "operetta" began to emerge and become popular. they were also called "lite operas". They were not as log or complicated. The plot is more make believe and were not of a serious nature like the longer operas. Parts of the dialogue is sometime spoken instead of sung. Today operettas are not as popular. The operetta is a forrunner to the musicals that we have today. Musicals are completely differeent than operas or operettas. Among the important operetta composers were Franz Lehar (1870-1948), Jaques Offenbach (1818-1881) and Johan Strauss Jr. (1825-1899).
Many opera and operetta aries are still popular today without being heard as part of the entire opera. La Donna e Mobile is part of Rigeletto by Verdi adn is one of the most famous opera aries.
In the Movie Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroid, the overture form "The Merriage of Figero is played at the beginning. Dan Akroids caracter has tickets for La Bohemme(I assume that it is the Puccini version. Rugerio Leoncavello also wrote a version of La Bohemme). Another favorite movie of mine is The Burbs with Tom Hanks. There is a sceen where Quest un Quella also form Rigeletto is played. It sounded like an old recorcing. Who was singing it? It was not Enrico Caruso or John McCormack.