Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) A short, light, musical drama.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun a short amusing opera

Etymologies

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

[Italian, diminutive of opera, opera; see opera.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from Italian operetta.

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.

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

    Quote of the day: Orphée aux Enfers

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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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