Opera: the quintessential Italian art form


If Pirandello is the archetypal Italian writer, then opera— packed with searing emotion expressed without reserve— is the quintessential Italian art form. Its origins, in the late sixteenth century, are exclusively Italian.

It grew out of the discussions and experiments of the Camerata, a group of Florentine writers, musicians and intellectuals whose main aim was to revive the blend of words and music that was known to have existed in classical Greek drama.

An Italian, Jacopo Peri, composed the earliest recorded opera, Dafne, which was first performed in 1598. And it was in an Italian city, Venice, that the first public opera house, the Teatro San Cassiano, was opened in 1637.


Hooper, John. The Italians (p. 66). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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