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

/ˈbaləd ˈäp(ə)rə/ /ˈbæləd ˈɑp(ə)rə/