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You could classify opera in a number of ways.  Opera styles vary according to the country of origin.  Opera originating in Italy, France, Germany, and even England each had distinct forms, techniques, and styles.  Below is a list of five of the more technical forms of opera which were most common to Italy and France.

  1. Bel canto: 19th century Italian opera term; the actual definition of this style is ambiguous and is most often modernly associated nostalgically for a style or tradition of singing that has been lost.
  2. Grand Opera: Italian opera in 4-5 acts, large scale casts and orchestra, lavish sets and design, and plots based on dramatic historic events.
  3. Verismo: Italian opera that depicts realistic (and sometimes violent) events of everyday life; tends to focus specifically on the lives of the lower class.
  4. tragedie en musique: a form of French opera; distinguishing features are dance music and choral writing.
  5. opera comique: "comic opera"; a French genre of opera in which arias are alternated with spoken dialogue; common tunes were woven into the opera but given different words.
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