Ballad Operas Online
Ballad operas are "British stage productions from 1728-1760 that combine a comic or sentimental play with musical numbers that re-used 'common tunes'". Site created at Oxford University, but a collective effort of British and American music scholars. Sections on theater and dance history, cultural history, political history, stars of ballad operas.
For the purposes of this project, ‘ballad opera’ is defined as any British stage production from 1728 to 1760 that combines a comic or sentimental play with musical numbers that re-used ‘common Tunes’, i.e. airs whose broad circulation allowed them to be recalled by title only.
The term ‘ballad opera’ is misleading because eighteenth-century titles and advertisements classified these works diversely; the term ‘ballad opera’ only took hold after 1731, and the designation ‘Opera’ was more commonly used in volume titles until 1737. Although their ‘Old Ballad Tunes’ were advertised, ballad operas actually contained a very limited number of broadside ballads