Definition of opera seria in English:

Share this entry

opera seria

Pronunciation: /ˈäp(ə)rə ˈsi(ə)rēə/ Pronunciation: /ˈōpeˌrä ˈserēˌä/


1An opera, typically one of the 18th century in Italian, on a serious, usually classical or mythological theme.
Example sentences
  • Silla, the opera seria here recorded, was one of the earliest Handel created after settling in London, though oddly enough the circumstances of its first performance are obscure.
  • Convention prevented a bass like Montagnana from playing a heroic role in an opera seria, which only goes to show how remarkable William Savage's presence in Imeneo really was.
  • Two further commissions for Milan followed, the wedding serenata Ascanio in Alba in 1771 and Lucio Silla, a magnificent opera seria, in 1772.
1.1Opera seria as a genre.
Example sentences
  • The music of oratorios and passions, concerned with religious themes and unsupported by the panoply of court theatre and scenery, appealed much more directly to the emotions than opera seria.
  • Up to then opera seria was a series of set pieces which teed-up everything for the big solo arias.
  • In sweeping tableaux, Bellotto oscillates between these schemes, much as if he were a maestro, here of opera seria, there of buffa.


Italian, literally 'serious opera'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·pe·ra se·ri·a

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.