A History of Opera

With over three decades of experience practicing law, attorney Joseph Solfanelli is a Pennsylvania-based business lawyer. When not focused on his career as an attorney, Joseph Solfanelli enjoys a number of hobbies and interests, including opera and classical music. Below are are some of the major points in the history of opera:

-Late Renaissance and Baroque: The first era of opera occurred from the late 1500s to the early 1700s. Claudio Monteverdi and George Frideric Handel were among the prominent composers, often working with themes of religion and mythology.

-Classical: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Christoph Willibald Cluck were among this period’s composers who began rejecting standards set by the baroque period, with pieces often being more simple and easy to follow.

-Bel Canto: Gioacchino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini helped shape this era, showcasing singers’ voices more prominently than before. Larger vocal ranges were employed in the period’s pieces, which were often stories of passion and romance.

-Opera on a Grand Scale: Major composers in the mid to late 1800s included Guiseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, with large casts and orchestras, elaborate sets and costumes, and dramatic plots being prominent.

-Verismo: Pietro Mascagni and Giacomo Puccini were key players in developing Verismo, which means “realism.” Composers took inspiration from everyday life by portraying cultural and social issues in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

-American Opera: Often blurring the lines between musical theatre and opera with its modern themes, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, and Aaron Copland are primary composers in this period.


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