Definition of ballad opera in English:

ballad opera


  • A theatrical entertainment popular in early 18th-century England, taking the form of a satirical play interspersed with traditional or operatic songs. The best-known example is John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728).

    • ‘The German Singspiel, English ballad opera, French opéra comique, and Spanish zarzuela tended to use spoken dialogue rather than recitative between the songs.’
    • ‘The first ballad opera, The Beggar's Opera by Gay, with music arranged by J. C. Pepusch, is also the most famous.’
    • ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams's career as an operatic composer began in 1910 with the romantic ballad opera Hugh the Drover.’
    • ‘John Gay's enormously popular The Beggar's Opera began a brief vogue for ballad opera, with simple, popular tunes sung by actors interspersed with spoken English dialogue.’
    • ‘She began her career playing light comic roles in ballad opera and pantomime and became one of the most versatile performers of her day.’
    • ‘By the 1720s English musical forms were thriving, notably ballad opera.’
    • ‘First recorded in 1977, Peter Bellamy's ballad opera expertly combined a traditional approach and composed music.’
    • ‘‘It was like the Martins and the Coys,’ says Evelyn, referring to a 1940s ballad opera based on the feuding Hatfields and McCoys.’
    • ‘Charles Dibdin (house-composer at Drury Lane in the 1770s) is equally frank about the origin of his ballad opera The Waterman.’
    • ‘A ballad opera based on his eventful life, Flash Jim Vaux, by Ron Blair, was first produced in 1971.’
    • ‘Opera came to America in 1735, in the form of English ballad opera featuring spoken dialogue, new lyrics set to familiar tunes, and subjects taken from ordinary life.’
    • ‘Laura, from Keighley, was a childhood regular at the Bacca Pipes Folk Club and sang on last year's re-recording of Peter Bellamy's ballad opera, The Transports.’
    • ‘They show both Viennese classical charm and the inflection of English and Scottish folk-song characteristic of his many ballad operas.’
    • ‘Quickly, however, Americans began to write their own ballad operas attuned to American society.’
    • ‘Stephen Storace is best known for ballad operas, and his sister Nancy was the first Susannah in Mozart's Figaro.’


ballad opera