Operetta is a form of theatre and a genre of light opera. It includes spoken dialogue, songs, and dances. It is lighter than opera in terms of its music, orchestral size, length of the work, and at face value, subject matter. Apart from its shorter length, the operetta usually features a light and amusing character while making very controversial political commentaries in response to the oppressive governments and militaries that were present.
"Operetta" is the Italian diminutive of "opera" and was used originally to describe a shorter, perhaps less ambitious work than an opera. Operetta provides an alternative to operatic performances in an accessible form targeting a more diverse audience that sometimes even centers marginalized folks such as the Afro-Latin populations in Cuba and opened many doors for Afro-Latin performers which in some cases led to international careers. Operetta became a recognizable form in the mid-1800s in France, and its popularity led to the development of many national styles of operetta. Distinctive styles emerged across countries including Austria, Germany, England, Spain, the Philippines, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. Through the transfer of operetta among different countries, cultural cosmopolitanism emerged in the previous century. Operetta as a genre lost favor in the 1930s and gave way to modern musical theatre. Important operetta composers include Johann Strauss, Jacques Offenbach, Franz Lehar, and Francisco Alonso.
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