O is for OperaOne of the oldest forms of theatre, Opera has entertained thousands of people throughout the centuries and is still a popular form of entertainment to this day. Contrary to the name, The Phantom of the Opera is not an opera but a musical. An opera is theatrical performance that is performed entirely in song while a musical is comprised of spoken dialogue and song. One of the most famous operas is Carmen. Carmen was written by French composer Georges Bizet and is an adaptation of the novella by the same name written by Prosper Mérimée. It was first performed on March 3, 1875 at the at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Carmen tells the tale of a Don Jose, a young man who falls in love with the gypsy, Carmen. Jose deserts the military and abandons his childhood sweetheart for a life with Carmen. Carmen eventually betrays him by falling in love with the glamorous toreador, Escamillo. Jose is enraged with her betrayal and in a fit of rage he murders her.
The oldest known complete surviving opera, Euridice, was first performed at the Pitti Palace in Florence on October 6, 1600. It was written by Jacopo Peri for the wedding of Marie de' Medici to King Henry IV of France. Euridice retells the Grecian myth of Orpheus and Euridice. After his wife, Euridice, is fatally wounded, Orpheus travels the underworld to plead for her life.
Hundreds of operas have been written and performed since Euridice.