A theatrical entertainment popular in early 18th-century England, taking the form of a satirical play interspersed with traditional or operatic songs. The best-known example is John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728).
- The German Singspiel, English ballad opera, French opéra comique, and Spanish zarzuela tended to use spoken dialogue rather than recitative between the songs.
- The first ballad opera, The Beggar's Opera by Gay, with music arranged by J. C. Pepusch, is also the most famous.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams's career as an operatic composer began in 1910 with the romantic ballad opera Hugh the Drover.
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Syllabification: bal·lad op·er·a
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