opera seria

Unless you’re already an opera buff, you probably think all opera is quite somber. But in reality, there are two types of opera: seria, which is serious, and buffa, which is comic.

Opera seria developed first, emerging in late 17th-century Naples. The new genre featured tragic and heroic themes taken from history and mythology, and the focus was on elegant verse and expert vocal display.

Handel’s Rinaldo (1711) and Mozart’s Idomeneo (1781) are two examples of opera seria.