Two of the most popular types of opera are the comic opera and the serious opera. In a comic opera, sometimes known as a light opera, performers engage in storylines that rarely venture into heavy subject matter. These performances generally conclude happily and can be distinguished from other operas in that the dialogue is spoken more commonly than it is sung.
Serious operas are often referred to as opera seria or Neapolitan operas, as many of the original composers hailed from Naples. Neapolitan operas generally involve epic heroes and draw on myths for storylines. Serious operas place a great deal of emphasis on the bel canto style of singing, a voicing that developed in Italy during the 1600s. A combination of the two styles is the opera semiseria. These performances include a serious storyline but often have a happy ending. There are a number of additional styles of opera, including grand opera, opera cornique, and opera verismo.