Forms of comic opera first developed in late 17th-century Italy. By the 1730s, a new operatic genre, opera buffa
Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as ‘commedia in musica’, ‘commedia per musica’, ‘dramma bernesco’, ‘dramma comico’, ‘divertimento giocoso' etc...
, emerged as an alternative to opera seria
Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and "serious" style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1710s to c. 1770...
. It quickly made its way to France, where it became opéra bouffon
Opéra bouffon is the French term for the Italian genre of opera called opera buffa performed in 18th-century France, either in the original language or in French translation...
, and eventually, in the following century, French operetta
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre.-Origins:...
, with Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....
as its most accomplished practitioner.
The influence of the Italian and French forms spread to other parts of Europe.