Italian Opera and American Culture
This paper examines, in brief, the history of Italian opera, focusing on opera in the 19th century, and the ways in which opera has become a part of American culture and influenced American music.
The following paper examines the history of Italian opera focusing particularly on how Italian singers and composers helped to transform opera in the United States from an art form that was something that only the elite followed to something approaching a truly popular art.
“Opera is simply the Italian word for work and describes a piece of drama set to music, distinguished from plays in which music is merely incidental. Although there are certainly distant antecedents to opera in the music of Greek tragedy and Medieval European miracle-plays, it begins as a distinct art form (as dramas that were set to music in order to be produced as musical works of art) at the beginning of the 17th century. Kimbell, 1994, p. 11).”