Thematic album and selection of popular arias for World Opera Day
"It's time for us to go to the opera..."
World Opera Day is celebrated every year on October 25. It is an international information project that emphasises the positive impact and value of opera and the performing arts for society. In its modern form, the celebration was initiated by the leading international opera unions: OPERA America, Opera Europa and Ópera Latinoamérica. The date for the holiday was not chosen by chance - it was on this day that the great Austrian composer and conductor Johann Strauss II and French composer Georges Bizet were born. The legendary opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya was born on the same day.
Music had been a part of theatre performance since ancient times, but opera in its familiar form emerged in Italy at the end of the 16th century. The earliest known work that could be considered an opera by modern standards is “Daphne” by Jacopo Peri and Jacopo Corsi to the libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini. It was first performed in Florence in 1598. However, much of “Daphne” was lost; the first opera score to survive was “Eurydice” by Peri, and the first opera still regularly performed is “Orfeo” (1607) by Claudio Monteverdi.
Opera is a musical-theatre genre based on the synthesis of music, stage action and lyrics. Unlike dramatic theatre, where music performs secondary functions, in opera it is the main carrier of action, the protagonist. The literary basis of opera is a libretto, original or based on a literary work. The conventional term "opera" appeared later than the genre that it designated. First used in this sense in 1639, it became common only at the turn of the 18th – 19th
This genre combined poetry, acting and music. Subsequently, in the course of historical evolution, a variety of opera forms were developed: aria, recitative, vocal ensemble, chorus, orchestral numbers. Sometimes opera may include ballet scenes, spoken dialogue, and melodrama.
An operetta is a special form of opera music. An operetta is a performance of a predominantly comedic or lyrical nature, in which vocal instrumental numbers and dances are interspersed with dialogues.
Opera and operetta as musical theatre art genres have common historical roots — the principle of stage action based on vocal performance and musical accompaniment. The origins of these genres, as well as of dramatic theatre, should be sought in ancient Greece. The ancient theatre seems to have resembled opera rather than the more familiar dramatic theatre. It is known for sure that ancient Greek performances were accompanied by music and singing, and the first playwrights were both musicians and composers at the same time. It was the community of humanists now known as the Florentine Camerata* intention to restore ancient tragedy that gave rise to modern opera. But there are also fundamental differences. Opera, although it can be comic, is primarily a dramatic, more serious genre, often with a mythological or historical plot. The forms of drama or tragedy are not characteristic of operetta. The main features of operetta are humour, satire, parody, love lyrics with a happy ending. Conversation scenes in operetta are the norm and an integral part of the production. And if the vocal basis of opera are serious arias, duets, trios and choruses, designed to convey the profound feelings of the characters, in operetta it is all chronologically shorter and is performed mainly in the verse and song genre, which is more easily perceived by the audience. There is no dancing in opera. It is impossible to imagine operetta without dance numbers, even very frivolous ones, such as the cancan. Compared to operetta, opera has a more elaborate composition, including symphonic forms of stage dramaturgy.
World Opera Day brings together opera companies, opera professionals and opera lovers. Live and online events take place all over the world to introduce as many people as possible to the multiple meanings of music, its reflection of a person's vision of the world, feelings, ideas and aspirations.
World Opera Day is a special day for everyone who appreciates this powerful art. Museum Collection, supporting the initiative to promote operatic art, invites you to listen to a musical selection comprised of pieces that have been included in the world opera classics and digitised from media stored in the museum Sound Library.
Thematic photo album for the World Opera Day, which includes postcards from the collection section “Prints” (Editions of N.A. Krestovnikov, K. Fischer and others, early 20th century) is posted in the museum "Photo Gallery".