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Opera the Arousing of Emotions

Holland's Got Talent

Doctrine of Affections (affetti)


"An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my lifelong after I've left the opera house."

Maria Callas (1923 - 1977) quoted those words; and even though, I am not an opera performer, I do relate to this prodigious musical form. Her words lividly describe the strong feelings produced by opera.

From antiquity, humanity has sung and played instruments. Music has a variety of meanings for each one of us. It is the universal language, after 'love'. It is said that, music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.

Opera (opus = work) is a drama set to music and made up of a 'Cantata' (vocal pieces) staged in a theater with costumes, scenery, and with orchestral:

  • accompaniment (music played to support the person singing or the instrument played).
  • overtures (music played at the beginning)
  • interludes (period of time between events, it may be a music or an act; designed as bridging)

When the opera is sung totally alone without accompaniment the Italian term used is 'a capella' (in chapel style).

Orchestra instrument position

Italian melody

Opera's origin

Since opera's origin (remote to the world of the ancient Greece and Rome) it became the most complex of art forms. This is why it truly arise emotions because of all the artistic creations found in its performance.

A large repertoire of opera grew based on events recorded in the Bible or derived from Christian traditions. Influence from the ancient world were the:

  • Greek and Romans tragedy
  • Ancient rhetoric
  • Plato and Aristotle's work

European and Western opera are the mixture of:

  • Italian melody
  • French dance
  • German intellect and technique

Art in opera

The Fruit Machine (a painting & an opera)

The Fruit Machine (a painting & an opera)

Opera highest of all arts

Opera has received the colors and cultural flavoring of other countries. Opera is the sum and the summit of all arts offering an exotic and irrational characteristic, which makes it expensive.

How can it not arouse emotions? The Greek and Roman rhetorical theory and practice should aim affetti, the so called Doctrine of affection. This doctrine is the reason of why the performances should express and create a state of feelings in the listener, such as:

  • joy
  • sadness
  • anger
  • sorrow
  • Kindness
  • love
  • etc.

The arts put together are:

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  • painting
  • poetry
  • drama
  • dance
  • music

China Peking Opera Art Festival

Chinese Opera

The three oldest dramatic art forms in the world are:

  • Chinese Opera - Today, over 300 impressive regional opera style.
  • Greece Tragic-comedy
  • Indian Sanskrit

Chinese opera formerly based on old tales of heroes and supernatural. Today with great historic events of the recent past.

Forms of opera

Ballad OperaBallet-HeroiqueBurlettaComedies-Ballet

English musical and dramatic entertainment that offers a play, usually comic.

French genre that involved heroic figures.

Light English opera, and in Italy a comic opera

French Baroque makes use of spoken dialogue, song and dance.

Lyric Drama


Grand Opera


French form that dealt seriously enough with characters.

Shorter form of comic opera, popular in Venice.

A French five act work, using grandiose effects on a large scale.

German fairy tale opera.



Number Opera

Opera - Ballet

A court entertainment in England.

Makes use of spoken words, accompanied by or framed by music.

Made up of distinct and separate sections, complete in themselves.

French opera combining elements of opera and ballet in a work that might or might not be unified by plot.





French opera that makes use of arias (separate song) and other musical elements.

Religious subject.

French song or theatrical entertainment often satirical intention.

Spanish form dramatic and musical using song, dance and Spanish composers.

Continental Opera Houses

China National Grand Theater

Brazil Opera House

Cape Town Opera


Cairo Opera House


Paris Opera House

New York Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Five most important opera composers

ComposerBirth & deathComposition

Claudio Monteverdi

1567 - 1643

The first major opera in 1607

Johann Sebastian

1685 - 1750

Wrote church and instrumental.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1756 - 91

Composed many operas and concertos

Ludwig van Beethoven

1770 - 1827

Wrote symphonies and chamber music.

Richard Wagner

1813 - 83

Created grand operas on mythological subjects.

Greatest Female Opera Singers

The Best Male Opera Singers

Opera singers

Listen to opera letting your imagination fly, as you do, live the words you listen from the singer. This is a sophisticated piece of art that will make your whole being comprise with it.

There are six types of opera singers according to their voices, which within each of them you will find differences by individual characteristics.

From highest to lowest, the three female voices are:

  1. soprano
  2. mezzo-soprano
  3. contralto

The male voices are:

  1. tenor
  2. baritone
  3. bass


Let everything that has breath do as in Psalm 150

Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!

Blessings to all!

© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill

© 2014 Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill


Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 03, 2015:

Mr. Feliciano I love music and I am not an opera singer...only when I'm taking a bath. Thanks for reading and sharing who you are.

Angel L Feliciano on July 13, 2014:


I am an opera Singer and based in New York City I am very impressed with your article and actually nailed it . Makes me believe that you were or are an Opera singer yourself because you couldn't said it better . It start way before the curtains goes up and ends long after it goes down. I sing from my heart and express from my feelings always respecting and transmitting to the audience what the composer wrote and is my job to do that as an artist. Maria I am speechless with your creative and heart feeling for what I am passionate for.

Keep up the great work.


Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 28, 2014:

MsDora thanks to you for reading and leaving such lovely comment. I love opera and I wanted to share about it. Be well!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 28, 2014:

Thanks for this historical and cultural lesson on operas and opera singers. I learn many interesting facts. Thanks also for the pictures of the opera houses. They are awesome.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 27, 2014:

Frogg213 thank you very much for such warm encouragement.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 27, 2014:

Thanks Eric!

Andrea Bocelli is definitely great. The length of an opera keeps me awake when I drive at night. Sad to know that your local looks like it will shut down. When I made my search, I saw few nice opera places in California.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill (author) from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 27, 2014:

Thanks Billy, I don't know how can you write, comment and still encourage in one day.

I know that not everybody may assist to an opera, but I hear it even from the radio when I cannot have my iPod handy.

Thanks for the push!

Greg Boudonck from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong on April 27, 2014:

A very well one hub Maggie. Great job Hon, voting up across the board.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 27, 2014:

Lovely, just a lovely article. I really do like Bocelli. Operas could be shorter for my standards. Our local looks like it will shut down.

Nice to read from you.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2014:

I confess that I have never been to the opera, but I have no doubt that it is a remarkable experience. So good to see you writing more, Maria. Carry on my friend, and blessings to you always.


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