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.
- 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.
- Grand Opera: Italian opera in 4-5 acts, large scale casts and orchestra, lavish sets and design, and plots based on dramatic historic events.
- Verismo: Italian opera that depicts realistic (and sometimes violent) events of everyday life; tends to focus specifically on the lives of the lower class.
- tragedie en musique: a form of French opera; distinguishing features are dance music and choral writing.
- 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.