Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A theatrical production that has many of the musical elements of opera but is lighter and more popular in subject and style and contains spoken dialogue. Also called light opera.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lighter version of opera with a frivolous story and spoken dialogue.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short, light, musical drama.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A short opera, generally of a light character and so belonging to the class of comic opera or opera bouffe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a short amusing opera

Etymologies

Italian, diminutive of opera, opera; see opera1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from Italian operetta. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Franz Lehár's operetta is the perfect titbit for a financial crisis, as it concerns the fiscal anxieties of a small European state whose entire GDP has ended up in a flighty young widow's jewellery drawer.

    The Merry Widow – review

  • The operetta is the ironic utopia of an enduring reign of capital. —

    Quote of the day: Orphée aux Enfers

  • Around the same time that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were swinging their way into America's hearts with a snappy new American approach to movie musical comedy, another musical movie couple, Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, made a huge success bringing to the screen and enlivening a dying European tradition of sentimental musical romance we call operetta.

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  • He composed a very amusing so-called operetta using popular tunes at the time.

    Briefing On General Marshall And The Marshall Plan

  • One of the characters in the operetta was a duchess whose adventures afforded the audience much diversion.

    His Excellency the Minister

  • The show is an operetta, which is traditionally humorous.

    Daily Vanguard RSS

  • I'm not sure why the "operetta" appellation has stuck, but to me it seems to be in the same genre as his other works, albeit with some waltzes and a lighter story.

    La Rondine

  • He, too, would be quite satisfied not to hear the word "operetta" for a year.

    Miss Billy's Decision

  • Presented by the Sarcoma Alliance, the self-dubbed solo "operetta" fits the presenter's probable goal of providing a very light, cheerful take on Lustman's ordeal.

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  • I don't want to _hear_ the word 'operetta' again for a year! "

    Miss Billy's Decision

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