Opéra comique is the name given to a specific a genre of French opera that had its origins in the popular "opéras comiques en vaudevilles" performed at the various fairs in Paris and in part also to style popularised by the various Comédie-Italienne troupes.
The works contain spoken dialogue and arias, based on existing popular tunes and is associated with the Paris theatre of the same name.
It is important to note that the term cannot simply be translated as "comic opera", it is more complex, for it does not deal with comical or shallow material, but can encompass even tragedy. (see for example Bizet's Carmen, possibly the most famous opéra comique).
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