Learn about Opera

Learn About Opera


Opera Quizzes

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Opera Terms


Opera Plots


The Bible in the Opera


Mozart’s The Magic Flute


Life and Works of Mozart

Location, Location, Location

Opera Trivia

Longest Operas
The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin by Robert Wilson, performed from December 14 to 15, 1973, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City, lasted almost 13 hr. 25 min.

The longest frequently performed opera is Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868). An uncut version performed by the Sadler’s Wells company in London, England, in 1968 lasted a total of 5 hr. 15 min.

Shortest Opera
The shortest published opera is The Sands of Time by Simon Rees and Peter Reynolds, which lasted 4 min. 9 sec. When first performed by Rhian Owen and Dominic Burns at The Hayes in Cardiff, Wales, in March 1993. A 3-minute, 34-second version was performed under the direction of Peter Reynolds in London, England, in September 1993.

Lowest Note
The lowest vocal note in the classical repertoire is in Osmin’s aria in Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It calls for a low D (73.4 Hz).

Highest Note
The highest vocal note in the classical repertoire is G³, which occurs in Mozart’s Papolo di Tessaglia.

Longest Operatic Applause
Placido Domingo (Spain) was applauded for 1 hr. 20 min. through 101 curtain calls after a performance of Otello at the Vienna State Opera House in Austria in July 1991.

Longest Operatic Career
Danshi Toyotake of Hyogo, Japan, sang Musume Gidayu (a traditional Japanese narrative) for 91 years from the age of seven, from 1898 to 1989.

Biggest Opera House
In terms of audience capacity, the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center in New York City is the largest, with seating for 3800 and standing room for an additional 195 patrons.

The largest open-air theatre in the world is the Amphitheatre of Verona. This ancient Roman amphitheatre can seat 22,000 spectators.

Oldest Opera House
In 1737, King Carlo VI commissioned Giovanni Medrano to build the Teatro S. Carlo in Naples, Italy. It was rebuilt under the direction of architect A. Niccolini after a fire in 1816 and has remained essentially the same building ever since. Containing 184 boxes in six tiers, the theatre can seat 1,500 people.

Best-Selling Opera Singer
Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti made his professional debut in 1961 and has sold about 60 million albums worldwide. His entire stage repertoire has reached disc, and every recording is a best seller. He also holds the record for the most curtain calls in an opera, receiving 165 after singing the part of Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Germany, on February 24, 1988. The applause lasted 1 hr. 7 min. Pavarotti reached a huge worldwide audience in the early 1990s when he began performing with Placido Domingo and José Carreras as “The Three Tenors,” under the baton of Zubin Mehta. The partnership was originally formed to celebrate the 1990 World Cup Finals held in Italy.

Best-Selling Classical Album
The Three Tenors In Concert, recorded by José Carreras, Placido Domingo (both of Spain), and Luciano Pavarotti (Italy) for the 1990 soccer World Cup Finals, has sold an estimated 13 million copies.

10 Things to know about Donizetti
Donizetti was born as Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti in Bergamo (Lombardy, Italy). Read more.

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