Operatic pop

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Operatic pop or popera is a subgenre of pop music that is performed in an operatic singing style or a song, theme or motif from classical music stylized as pop. According to music historians, operatic pop songs became most prevalent with the rise of Tin Pan Alley musicians during the early 1900s.[1] One influence was the large influx of Italian immigrants to the United States who popularized singers such as Enrico Caruso and inspired the creation of "novelty songs" using Italian dialect. The songs often used operatic repertory "to make a satirical or topical point".[1] Popularized by American Vaudeville, musical comedies, jazz and operettas, examples include Irving Berlin's That Opera Rag, Billy Murray's My Cousin Caruso and Louis Armstrong's riffs on Rigoletto and Pagliacci.[1] The subgenre subsequently dwindled after the 1920s but revived during the rock music era with albums such as The Who's Tommy and Queen's A Night at The Opera.[1]

In 1986, operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti had a hit with the Lucio Dalla song "Caruso", which helped to spark a recent flourishing of operatic pop.[2] Other singers, including Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and Katherine Jenkins, also recorded the number.[2] Bocelli, in particular, soon became a leading representative of the subgenre.[2][3] In the 2000s, singers and singing groups devoted primarily to operatic pop built on this renewed success. Groups like Il Divo and Amici Forever have achieved popularity with the mix of "contemporary pop with operatic style" characteristic of operatic pop.[4] The subgenre is often performed by classical crossover singers and acts, although that field is much broader in the types of music it encompasses. "Popera" performances, such as those by the Three Tenors, have reached larger audiences and brought in greater profits than typical for operatic music.[5]

Operatic pop solo singers[edit]

Operatic pop groups[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hamberlin, Larry (January 21, 2011). "Introduction". Tin Pan Opera: Operatic Novelty Songs in the Ragtime Era (1st ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780195338928. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Autunnali, Melisanda Massei (2011). Caruso: Lucio Dalla e Sorrento, il rock e i tenori (in Italian). Rome: Donzelli. pp. 4–5, 137. ISBN 8860365635. 
  3. ^ a b Andrea Bocelli: The king of Operatic pop, The Sydney Morning Herald, August 28, 2004
  4. ^ a b Danesi, Marcel (2013). The history of the kiss!: the birth of popular culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 111. ISBN 1137376856. 
  5. ^ a b Greenwald, Helen M., ed. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Opera. Oxford University Press. pp. 674–5. ISBN 9780195335538. 
  6. ^ Caspari, Abigail (February 27, 2008). "Brennan: Dame Kiri should apologise". New Zealand: Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved September 24, 2015. A Rotorua opera singer is calling for Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to publicly apologise to Hayley Westenra and other 'popera' stars for calling them fake singers. 
  7. ^ Graff, Gary (March 17, 2004). "Bachstreet Boy: Classical singer carves niche for operatic pop". Reading Eagle. The New York Times Syndicate. Retrieved September 24, 2015. Groban has carved more of a mainstream niche for operatic pop vocals than such predecessors as Andrea Bocelli or even Luciano Pavarotti. 
  8. ^ Shepherd, John, ed. (2005). Continuum encyclopedia of popular music of the world. London: Continuum. p. 233. ISBN 0826474365. Italy has capitalized on its stereotypical image as the cradle of bel canto, as in the case of the 'operatic pop' of Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. 
  9. ^ BBC Proms 2014: The Official Guide. Random House. 2014. p. 28. ISBN 1448142652. If anyone can compete with Wainwright for the crown of operatic pop... 
  10. ^ "Romina Arena: All hail the 'Queen of Popera'", The ArbiterOnline, December 6, 2007
  11. ^ Gallo, Phil (November 12, 2011). "Romeo’s Escape: Vittorio Grigolo balances opera roles with blues, jazz and other new directions". Billboard: 59. Retrieved September 24, 2015. ‘My goal is to enlarge the audience [for opera] by using the media of our time,’ he says, using the term ‘popera’ as a definition of a viable art form rather than as a derisive insult. 
  12. ^ McKinley, Jr., James C. (September 4, 2013). "Il Divo Is Coming to Broadway". The New York Times (Artsbeat). Retrieved September 24, 2015. Il Divo, the operatic pop vocal group, is coming to Broadway... 
  13. ^ "Italian popera trio among Eurovision favourites". Italy: The Local. May 19, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 

External links[edit]

  • What is Popera? by Oliver Kamm in Times Online, November 20, 2004, accessed June 27, 2008 (subscription required)