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Opera is a musical dramatic work in which the actors sing some or all of their parts; a union of music, drama and spectacle, with music normally playing a dominant role.
Antecedents of opera include the intermedio, but the earliest operas staged by the group of ‘camerata’ around patrons in Florence were courtly entertainments in the form of the pastorale. The spread of the new stile rappresentativo to other Italian courts began with Monteverdi's Orfeo (Mantua, 1607). As opera became a public entertainment, from 1637 at Venice, its content and structure changed to meet the demands of new audiences. A more accessible type of opera can be seen in the romantic dramas of Faustini which Cavalli set in 1642-52 with expressive recitative and fluid arias.