Why Opera Music is Used When Someone Dies

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Opera music has been used for centuries to mark significant events, such as the death of a loved one. But why is opera music so often associated with death?


Opera music is often used at funerals and memorial services. There are many reasons for this, but most importantly, opera music has the ability to evoke strong emotions and create a sense of drama.

Opera music is typically very emotional and can convey a range of human emotions, from joy to sorrow. This makes it the perfect type of music to use when paying tribute to a life that has been lost.

In addition, opera music is often very complex and can convey a great deal of meaning in a short amount of time. This makes it ideal for times when people are trying to process their grief and may not be able to sit through a long service.

Opera music can also be very uplifting and can provide comfort during times of loss. Many people find that listening to opera music helps them to remember the good times they shared with the person who has died.

Overall, opera music is an excellent choice for funerals and memorial services because it is emotional, complex, and uplifting. It is a fitting way to pay tribute to a life that has been lost and to remember the good times that were shared.

What is Opera Music?

Opera music is a type of classical music that originated in Italy in the late 16th century. It is characterized by its use of singing, rather than instruments, to convey the story. Opera music is often used in movies and TV shows to set a specific mood or atmosphere. It can be used to convey sadness, drama, or even comedy.

The History of Opera Music

The use of opera music when someone dies dates back to the 17th century. Opera music was first used in funeral rites in Venice, Italy. It was said that the use of opera music helped to lift the spirits of the grieving and to bring comfort to the bereaved.

Opera music continued to be used in funerals throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous example of this is Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem,” which was composed in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, a famous Italian poet. The “Requiem” was first performed at Manzoni’s funeral in 1874.

The 20th century saw a decline in the use of opera music at funerals. This was due in part to the outbreak of World War I, which resulted in the death of many young men who were passionate about opera. After the war, operas became increasingly popular and were once again used in funeral rites.

Today, opera music is not as commonly used at funerals as it once was. However, it remains an option for those who wish to add a touch of beauty and elegance to their loved one’s final farewell.

How Opera Music is Used Today

Opera music is often used at funerals and memorial services because it is seen as a type of music that evokes emotion and speaks to the soul. It can also be seen as a type of music that is spiritual and calming, which can provide solace during a time of mourning. While opera music is not typically associated with death, it can be used to create a more reflective and somber mood during a funeral or memorial service.

The Different Types of Opera Music

There are four main types of opera music: comic, tragic, seria, and buffa. Comic opera is light-hearted and often used for comedic purposes. Tragic opera is serious and often uses more dramatic pieces. Seria opera is a mix of both serious and comedic pieces, while buffa opera is more light-hearted and focuses on the comical aspects.

The Benefits of Opera Music

Some people might think that playing opera music at a funeral is morbid or depressing. However, there are actually many benefits to using opera music as a way to honor a deceased loved one.

One of the biggest benefits of opera music is that it is incredibly emotional and moving. The music can help to evoke feelings of sadness and grief, which can be beneficial for those who are struggling to come to terms with their loss.

Opera music is also very powerful and dramatic, which can help to create a more solemn and respectful atmosphere at a funeral. The music can also help to promote healing and closure for those who are grieving.

In addition, opera music is typically very uplifting and hopeful, which can provide comfort and reassurance during times of mourning. The music can also help to remind us of the beautiful things in life, even in the midst of tragedy.

The drawbacks of Opera Music

Though it is a moving and beautiful experience, some mourners find that opera music can be too intense for a funeral service. If the deceased was not an opera fan, his or her friends and family may be caught off guard by the choice of music and find it difficult to appreciate. Additionally, opera music can be quite long, which may not be ideal for a funeral service that is already emotional and draining.


Opera music is used when someone dies because it is seen as a peaceful way to transition into the next life. It is also thought to be helpful in comforting the loved ones of the deceased. While there is no definitive answer as to why opera music is used when someone dies, these are some of the most commonly cited reasons.

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