Brief History of Opera

  • Period: to


  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Claudio Monteverdi
    Orfeo Genre: opera “favola in musica” First fully developed opera as a drama:
    prologue + 5 acts Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
    Librettist: Alessandro Striggio
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully

    Jean-Baptiste Lully
    Baroque Era (France) Composed: Armide
    Librettist: Philippe Quinault Established opera in the French Court. Operas were called “Tragedies set to Music.” He was a terrible conductor
  • Henry Purcell

    Henry Purcell
    Baroque Era (England) Composed: Dido and Aeneas (Women had roles!)
    Librettist: Nahum Tate At 20 he was the organist of Westminster Abbey. Court Composer for William and Mary.
  • George Handel

    George Handel
    Baroque Era (England) Composed: Giulio Cesare (Julius Caeser)
    Librettist: Nicola Francesco Haym Born in Germany, worked in Italy, and England. Master of the Orchestra at the Royal Academy of Music, the first Italian opera company in London.
  • Period: to


  • Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Christoph Willibald Gluck
    Baroque Era to Classical Era OPERA REFORM!!! Wanted to make opera about human drama and passions. Words are equal to music. Recitative Secco replaced with Recitative Accompagnato. Orfeo ed Euridice was the first to incorporate reforms.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Classical Era Mastered Gluck's reformation of opera. Combined opera seria and opera buffa with his work, Don Giovanni.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Gioachino Rossini
    Classical Era Bel Canto Singing Composed: The Barber of Seville
    Librettist: Cesare Sterbini
  • Period: to


  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Giuseppe Verdi
    Romantic Era Post Bel Canto Era Composed: Rigoletto
    Librettist: Francesco Maria Piave Based on Victor Hugo’s play The King Is Amused (1832) Setting: Renassiance-era ducal court at Mantua