“Opera”, Italian plural of “opus” (work), may be said to have begun when the Italian Camerata, meeting in the houses of the Florentine Giovanni de’ Bardi and Jacopo Corsi in the 1580s, began experimenting with music and drama in order to produce a work resembling ancient Greek drama. Of this group, Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) emerged with Orfeo which was first performed in Mantua in 1607. Later operas by Monteverdi include The Return of Ulysses (Venice, 1641) and The Coronation of Poppea (Venice, 1642). At the same time, the Venetian Cavalli (1602-1676) was also developing the genre and would go on to compose 40 operas in all, of which Giasone (1649) is now the best known. C…
Tambling, Jeremy. "Opera". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=794, accessed 25 April 2015.]