5 Fascinating Facts About Opera

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Opera is one of the most famous and emotional forms of musical performance. No matter what language you speak, the power and emotion of opera is enough to draw a few tears to the corners of anyone’s eyes. Check out these fascinating facts about this powerful form of musical expression!

1. “Opera” Comes from the Latin Opus

The word “opera” originates from the Latin word for word for “work” (opus). This is similar to someone’s best work being described as their magnum opus!


2. Performing in Third Position


The main cast in eighteenth-century opera performances would stand in ballet’s third position, with one ankle in front of the other, heels touching, and bowlegged. They would sing entire songs in third position. Talk about a workout!


3. Don’t Whistle!


Every culture shows respect in its own way. In Japan, audiences will show their appreciation for a film by remaining dead silent for several moments after watching it. In Europe, whistling during an opera is the equivalent of boo-ing!

4. Naming the Arias


An opera is broken up into a number of songs known as arias. Many arias are traditionally named after the first few words sung in the song.

5. Bravo, Brava, Bravi, & Brave!


At the end of an opera, audience members honor performers by yelling some form of the word “bravo”. “Bravo” is used to honor a single male performer. “Brava” honors a single female performer. A group of men and women are honored with “bravi”. A group of female performers are honored with “brave” (pronounced brah-vay).

Watch this unbelievable performance from the late legendary opera singer, Luciano Pavarotti:

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