The main difference between Opera and Operetta is, obviously, the letters “ett” inserted into the word, giving Operetta an extra syllable. Upon further analysis, we find that having an “ett” towards the end of a word generally makes it female, such as in the case of “Smurfette,” the female Smurf, or in the case of The Chipettes, who are the female counterparts to Alvin and the Chipmunks. When confronted with this undeniable evidence, we can now conclude that an Operetta is a female Opera.
Now, wait a minute, you are saying at this point. What about a dinette set? I don’t know what a dinette set is, but they often give them away on game shows, such as “The Price is Right,” and they do not appear to be female diners. This is true. Hmmmm, you have me there. Hold on, let me check wikipedia. Ah ha! According to the page on dining rooms, a dinette is an eating space smaller than a dining room, but bigger than a breakfast nook. So there you have it, the difference between a dining room and a dinette.
Huh? Oh yeah, I got sidetracked, that was not the question. Well, okay, let’s look at the show I am currently involved in, Die Fledermaus. This show is an operetta. It is very silly, it has sung music as well as spoken dialogue, and we are doing it in English. Now we shall look at the last show I did before this one, La Rondine. That show was an opera, and it had a sad ending and no spoken dialogue to speak of, and we sang it in Italian. It was also a bit longer. So the difference between opera and operetta is that operas are long and sad and in a funny language with no talking, and operettas are short, funny, and in English, with spoken dialogue.
Wait, except that the opera I did before La Rondine was Gianni Schicchi. It was short, funny, and we did it in English. And it was an opera! Rats. Okay, so the basic difference must be that operas are all singing, and operettas have talking in them. But isn’t that just a musical then? No, because musicals are not sung by opera singers. So basically an operetta is a musical that opera singers sing. And a musical is an operetta that Broadway singers sing? That doesn’t seem quite right either.
Okay, I stand by my original conclusion. An operetta is a female opera. The end.
I shouldn’t have let the dining rooms confuse me…