Grand opera

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Degas (1876): "Ballet of the Nuns" from Meyerbeer's Robert le diable (1831); one of the earliest examples of Grand Opera

Grand Opera is a term which is used to describe an opera with continuous music. It is a kind of opera that was popular in the 19th-century. Grand operas are usually divided into four or five acts. There have large casts (many singers taking part) and large orchestras. There is a lot of scenery. The story is dramatic. It is usually a story about a hero from history. The term "Grand Opera" has often been used to describe the Paris Opéra from the late 1820s to around 1850, and sometimes to describe the Paris Opéra itself.

In a broader sense "Grand Opera" can be any large-scale opera from European countries. During the 1830s and 1840s Giacomo Meyerbeer was thought to be the greatest composer of Grand Opera.