Those who have never been to an opera (and there are a few, believe it or not) may think a death scene is a prerequisite. To be sure, the art form is filled with exquisite final scenes where someone breaths his last breath. But there’s another kind of opera that is light as air and designed to go for the funny bone instead of the tear ducts.
“Opera buffa” is simply Italian for comic opera.
The genre is especially associated with developments in Naples in the first half of the 18th century. Since everybody loves a good laugh, opera buffa’s popularity quickly extended to Rome and northern Italy.
Opera buffa is a democratic art form: It was intended to be entertainment the common man could enjoy. The language was simple and easily understood by the masses – and the comedy often bordered on bawdy. Unlike more serious operas, the comedy in opera buffa is often broad and even sophomoric.
Contemporary descendants of opera buffa might include Married … with Children; the animated Seth Rogen movie, Sausage Party; and pretty much anything Will Ferrell has ever starred in.
So, leave the preconceived notions at home and enjoy the kind of comedy Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller might have made, had they lived in the late 1700s. Opera buffa is a rollicking good time.