What's an Opera?

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Saturday, June 04, 2016

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden The Royal Opera House in London. (Flickr)

This week, Naomi Lewin introduces the type of musical theater known as opera, in which all words are sung. Opera singers do not use microphones — their voices are trained, and can fill a whole theater with sound without any amplification. All operas have solo singers and an orchestra, and many also have a chorus. The works themselves appear in several different languages, including English.

On this episode, learn all about the art form, including its origins, performers, composers and history. We'll hear examples from some of the most famous works performed by its best-known singers.

Program Playlist:

Warner Brothers video: Kill the Wabbit
Monteverdi: Toccata from L'Orfeo 
Donizetti: "Pour Mon Ame" from Daugher of the Regiment
Handel: "Al Dispetto" from Tamerlano
Rossini: "Largo al Factotum" Barber of Seville
Mozart: "Ha! Geht's hier so lustig zu?" from Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Mozart: "Der Hölle Rache" from Die Zauberflöte
Bizet: Habanera from Carmen
Bellini: "Mira, O Norma" from Norma
Gounod: "Anges Pur" from Faust
Gounod: Soldier's Chorus from Faust
Lewin: Burning Bright

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