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What’s the Difference between Opera and Theatre?

Opera and theatre are both very different performance art forms. While both have set performances in front of a live audience, there are many differences between the two. Similarities, however, do exist between the two art forms. An opera is an art form that combines singing with acting and staging to tell a story. It focuses on a dramatic performance of an entire story through singing rather than spoken word alone. A production of opera involves several characters and acts with a beginning, middle and end, complete with singing and acting scenes from start to finish rather than simply having one character break out into song at random intervals throughout the performance. Theatre is also an art form that combines speaking and acting to convey a message or tell a story. Unlike opera, however, the theatre has no singing involved, it uses only spoken words to tell the story or essay being presented without any additional flare or background music. The primary difference between theatre and opera is that one includes music as part of its core design while the other does not.

Opera Vocals

Opera is a live performance art form that uses singing as its primary communication medium. In opera, one or more singers perform the narration and dialogue of a story with musical accompaniment provided by a live orchestra. The audience can expect to see a wide range of emotions performed through singing and acting. Some common emotions opera singers convey include sadness, anger, fear, joy, and love. Opera singers have to be very skilled in their field since they have to be able-bodied enough to act out the story while also performing complex vocal techniques while singing at the same time.

Theatre Vocals

Theatre is a live performance art form that uses spoken words as its primary communication medium. In theatre, one or more actors recite or read the narration and dialogue of a story in front of a live audience. Like opera, theatre can also tell a story using many different characters, along with a beginning, middle, and end. Actors in theatre are required to have strong public speaking skills and convey their emotions with the words they use in their monologue. They are not required to perform vocal skills at the same time as opera singers.

Overall Feelings

Overall, opera is a more dramatic and serious performance art form compared to theatre. Theatre can be equally as dramatic, but some moments in opera are more exaggerated and over-the-top than in the theatre. The entire mood of opera production is usually more solemn than in the theatre. Since opera uses music as a key factor in its performance, it often leaves people feeling more absorbed in the overall experience. The theatre experience is similar to a play on a smaller scale, with very little music or singing involved. Opera is often performed in a large auditorium with ornate costumes, a full orchestra, and elaborate set designs. Theatre performances are usually smaller and can be performed in any space, as long as it is large enough to hold an audience and has room for the actors to move around.


One major difference between opera and theatre is the way they are presented. The opera is treated as an art form that is primarily seen in a theatre setting. The theatre is seen as an art form that can be performed in many different settings, including opera houses. Another major difference between the two art forms is the cost of attending a performance. Opera is usually more expensive to attend than a theatre performance. The extra costs are due to the elaborate costumes, set designs, and musical accompaniment needed for a successful opera performance.

Props and Set Design

Another difference between opera and theatre is the types of props used during each performance. Props in opera include elaborate costumes, props, and set designs to bring the story to life and provide a more dramatic feel to the performance. Props used in theatre are not as elaborate; they are used to enhance the story and help the actors convey their emotions. The props are usually smaller and simpler to allow the audience to focus more on the words being said than on the small pieces on stage. The type of set design used in each art form is another difference between opera and theatre. The opera is usually performed on a larger stage with elaborate background scenery like a castle, palace, or even a city skyline. The theatre is performed on a smaller stage with simple yet functional set designs like a bedroom, living room, or office.


Overall, opera is a dramatic performance art form that uses singing as its primary medium of communication. The theatre is a dramatic performance art form that uses spoken words as its medium of communication. Both art forms tell a story, but opera uses music as a key factor and background, while theatre uses only spoken words. Opera is usually performed in a theatre setting, is more expensive to attend than theatre, and is more serious in its overall mood. Theatre is performed in many different settings and is not as serious as an opera production.