Though the first opera was not composed until the year 1600, opera characteristics existed within various Renaissance genres years before operas emerged onto the musical scene. Here are a few forerunners to opera with their descriptions:
Pastoral drama: play with songs throughout
Madrigal: poem set to music with multiple voice parts
Intermedio: musical interlude performed between acts of a play (usually the topic related to mythology)
Next time we will discuss two major early operas, dating around the turn of the 17th century. Think about how these operas may be similar or different to others you may be more familiar with.