An opera is like a play in which the words are sung rather than spoken, and the singers are accompanied by an orchestra. It is similar to music theatre (or "musicals") except that the style of singing is different. It originated in Italy in around 1600 and soon spread to the rest of Europe, and later to other parts of the world. The use of music produces a more expressive effect than spoken words alone could achieve. konga

Of course, it is not the only art form to combine music, action and words. If we think of these three basic ingredients, we will see that all over the world they have been combined in different ways. Just as three basic foods – eggs, water and flour – have been combined to produce pasta in Italy, noodles in China, Yorkshire pudding in England and naan bread in India, we might say that the Bollywood musical and Chinese opera are similar art forms to European opera, made by combining the same basic ingredients in different ways.