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Music on stage

Music is an art... You can hear it at home, or in a movie, or in a video game. But we can not forget music is a performance art. That means music must be played in front of people. , with an audience. This is what we call music on stage. There are four styles : Opera, Ballet, Zarzuela and Musical.


  • An Opera is a dramatic work combining text and music.

  • Singers are accompanied by an orchestra.

  • It started in Italy in the 17th Century (400 years ago!).

  • There are two kinds of operas: Dramatic operas (called "opera seria") and Comic operas (called "opera buffa").

  • Traditionally, Operas are about mythological stories and historical events. 

  • Voices at opera are very technical and hard to performance. 

  • Some composers were: Mozart, Verdi and Wagner.

  • Some works are: "The marriage of Figaro", "La Traviata" and "The Ring of the Nibelungs".

Erwin Schrott (Figaro)

Le Nozze di Figaro


MET Choir


Giuseppe Verdi

Stefania Bonfadelly (Violeta)

La Traviata

Guiseppe Verdi

Choir piece


Philip Glass


  • A Ballet is a dramatic work combining dance and music.

  • Dancers are accompanied by an orchestra.

  • It started in France in the 15th Century (600 years ago!).

  • As there is no text, stories to tell must be simple. That's why ballet used fairy and fantasy tales. 

  • Dancing style in ballets is really hard to perform and requires a lot of practice. 

  • ​Some composers were: Tchaikovsky, Delibes and Stravinsky.

  • Some works are: "The nutcracker", "Coppelia" and "The rite of Spring".

The Royal Ballet

Swan Lake


Larissa Lezhnina

The Nutcracker


Bolshoi Ballet


Leo Delibes

Mariinsky Ballet

The Rite of Spring

Igor Stravinsky


  • A Zarzuela is a Spanish music genre with musical scenes between spoken parts. 

  • It also uses traditional Spanish dances, as well as popular rhythms. 

  • Singers are accompanied by a little orchestra.

  • It started in Spain in the 15th Century (600 years ago!).

  • Zarzuela used popular stories, not mythological or historical. Half of the play is spoken, so it's easer than the opera. 

  • Dancing style in ballets is really hard to perform and requires a lot of practice. 

  • It's called "Zarzuela" because this music genre was premiered on the "Palacio de la Zarzuela", a palace in Madrid, surrounded by brambles.

  • ​Some composers were: Tomás Bretón, Federico Chueca or Ruperto Chapí.

  • Some works are: "La verbena de la Paloma", "La Gran Vía" and "La Revoltosa".

Teatro de la Zarzuela Company

Soleá from "La verbena de la Paloma"

Tomás Bretón

Madrid Royal Theatre

Luisa Fernanda (Scene I)

Moreno Torroba

Milagros Martín & Luis Cansino

Duo from "La del manojo de rosas"

Pablo Sorozábal

Teatro de la Zarzuela Company

Chotis from "La Gran Via"

Federico Chueca

Broadway Musical

  • A musical work combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance.

  • Each one of these elements are equally important.

  • It was born in USA at the beginning of the 20th Century.

  • Musicals always tried to impress the audience, using magic tricks, visual improvements and effects. 

  • Musicals told stories about youth, love and success. A few are based on books or movies.

  • Musical works can use a little orchestra, but it's common to use modern instruments from pop and rock genres, like the electric guitar or drum sets.

  • Some composers are: Jim Jacobs, Andrew Lloyd Weber, and Claude-Michel Schönberg.

  • Some works are: Grease, Cats or Les Miserables.

Neil Patrick Harris

Opening from Tony Award 2013

Ruthie Henshall (Fantine)

I dreamed a dream

from "Les Miserables"

Claude-Michel Schönberg

 Laura Osnes, Max Crumm

Sumer Nights from "Grease"

Jim Jacobs

Bruce Dow (King Herod)

Herod' Song

from Jesus Christ Superstar

Andrew Lloyd Webber

The Circle of Life

'The Lion King'

Drew Varley and Jo Gibb.

Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer from "Cats"

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Score: Music for a dream

Music for a dream.jpg


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