Dafne – 1597

If you're curious about the foundations of opera and game for some not-so-light reading, peruse Donald J. Grout's A Short History of Opera.  Not including the bibliography or extensive index, it is 728 pages long and required reading for any college voice major.  Opera wasn't really known as "opera" until the 17th century, but Grout identifies the dramma per musica [...]