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Difference Between Musical and Opera

Musical vs Opera

One can talk about the origin, history, development, and evolution of musicals and operas for hours, but in this article we will discuss the main features which differentiate musicals from operas. In modern times, people confuse one with the other and consider every entertainment show with music as musicals, and some popular music artists start thinking they are producing an opera when they are actually producing musicals.

Musical theatre, which is now simply called “musicals,” is a style of theatre where songs, dance, and spoken dialogue are combined to tell a story. In modern times, a musical could be a stage show or film or television show, and it uses contemporary and popular music styles and dialogues to tell the whole story. An opera is a form of theatre where musicians and singers combine musical scores and “libretto,” also called “text” in modern language, to present a story.
Musicals are performed in theatres. They could be a stage show or film or television show. Operas are performed in opera houses; they are always live performances with a live orchestra.

The main emphasis of musicals is on dialogue; though, sometimes some musicals are made which are sung through entirely. In musicals, the one performing is considered to be an actor first and then a singer and a dancer. In operas, the main emphasis is on singing. The performer is basically a classical singer. They might need to act sometimes and rarely need to dance. As in musicals, exceptions are present in opera also, and some operas do have dialogue too.

In musicals, the performance is always in the language understood by the audience. In England or in America, the musicals are always in the English language even if the original story was written in some other language. The singing, dancing, and dialogue are based on popular music, popular dance styles, and contemporary dialogues. It is considered that musicals have three main features: brain–which requires intelligence and style in writing; heart–which requires genuine emotions in the story, and courage–which stands for the capacity in a writer or director to do something new, creative, and bold.

In an opera, the singers are trained, classical singers and “sing” the story in the language in which the original story was written. There are many prominent opera styles in various languages like; the Italian opera, German–language opera, Russian opera, French opera, and English–language opera. Each opera has its own distinct style.


1.Musicals tell a story with a performance combined with dialogue, music, and dance; whereas an opera is a performance where music is the main focus of the performance. It is sometimes accompanied by libretto and rarely by dance.
2.A musical performer needs to be an actor first and then a singer and dancer; whereas in opera the performer needs to be a trained, classical singer first and then anything else second.
3.Musicals are made in popular styles of music and dance and always in the language of the audience; whereas opera is traditional and is always in the language of the original story or text written.

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