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The first ever operas were written around 1600 by Baroque composers including Monteverdi and Cavalieri, and the genre quickly took off. Early operas used dramatic text and music to express their stories, which were often based on Classical Greek and Roman mythology.
By the 1670s, opera’s popularity had spread all over Italy, and with it, the rise of the diva. The public favoured longer songs and preferred listening to upper voices, particularly the male castrato singers.
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