Undoubtedly, the combination of music and drama derives from distant past. Chorus , songs and dances of the earlier dithyramb had been incorporated in ancient greek drama. The tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides gave much space to the chorus . On the other hand ancient theoretical treatises (like: Aristotle, Poetics) inform us nowadays that music was an essential element of ancient drama. Unfortunately, only small amount of fragmented samples of Greek music in general survive until today. Even fewer are the samples of music for greek drama. A significant example is the A' stasimon, "Orestes" by Euripides.
During middle ages the catholic church had incorporated dramatic music in liturgical dramas (11th-
According to Willi Apel, forerunners of opera are also considered various types of secular, dramaturgical, music events which occurred during the 15th and 16th century. They are divided into two basic categories. 1) works in which music existed along with stage action and dance, such as ballet. Ballet moved from Italy to France and it became a key factor in French opera. 2) works in which the music existed as a kind of break between acts. In this case, musical parts were a kind of intermezzo between acts.
THe same author indicates that opera itself derives from a particular poetic form existing in pastoral poetry of the late 16th century. This form essentially replaced the earlier dramatic types. We may find it in both "Aminta" (1573) by T. Tasso and "Il Pastor Fido" (1581-
The first operatic poems were pastoral ones , based on the model of these two works mentioned above. The appropriate musical style for opera developed by the Florentine camerata.
The first operatic work is known today as an opera is dating to late 16th century.