1 [op-er-uh, op-ruh]
an extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias, choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet. Compare comic opera, grand opera.
the form or branch of musical and dramatic art represented by such compositions.
the score or the words of such a composition.
a performance of one: to go to the opera.
(sometimes initial capital letter) an opera house or resident company: the Paris Opera.

1635–45; < Italian: work, opera < Latin, plural of opus service, work, a work, opus

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2 [oh-per-uh, op-er-uh]
noun Chiefly Music.
a plural of opus.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
opera1 (ˈɒpərə, ˈɒprə)
1.  an extended dramatic work in which music constitutes a dominating feature, either consisting of separate recitatives, arias, and choruses, or having a continuous musical structure
2.  the branch of music or drama represented by such works
3.  the score, libretto, etc, of an opera
4.  a theatre where opera is performed
[C17: via Italian from Latin: work, a work, plural of opus work]

opera2 (ˈɒpərə)
a plural of opus

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"a drama sung," 1644, from It. opera, lit. "a work," from L. opera "work, effort" (L. plural regarded as fem. sing.), secondary (abstract) noun from operari "to work," from opus (gen. operis) "a work" (see opus). Defined in "Elson's Music Dictionary" as, "a form of musical
composition evolved shortly before 1600, by some enthusiastic Florentine amateurs who sought to bring back the Greek plays to the modern stage."
"No good opera plot can be sensible. ... People do not sing when they are feeling sensible." [W.H. Auden, 1961]
As a branch of dramatic art, it is attested from 1759. First record of opera glass "small binoculars for use at the theater" is from 1738. Soap opera is first recorded 1939, as a disparaging reference to daytime radio dramas sponsored by soap manufacturers.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

opera definition

A musical drama that is totally or mostly sung. A&idie;da, Carmen, and Don Giovanni are some celebrated operas. A light, comic opera is often called an operetta.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for operas
However, the present day company presents a season of five or six operas.
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