Definition of arioso in US English:



  • (especially in opera and oratorio) vocal music that is more melodic than recitative but less formal than an aria.

    ‘short passages of arioso’
    ‘his final arioso was more assured’
    as modifier ‘these anthems contain arioso writing’
    • ‘We aren't surprised that Handel employs, for this grand theme, all the resources of classical Heroic Opera, involving recitative, arioso, aria, chorus, and ceremonial dance.’
    • ‘The second movement is a set of recitatives and ariosos for tenor, chorus, soprano, and bass, in which we are transported to that final moment of death and seek the support of God in our trial.’
    • ‘In early 17th-century opera, recitative was the principal mode of expression and was often freely mixed with short passages of arioso.’
    • ‘In terms of sustained popularity the most successful German example was C. H. Graun's Der Tod Jesu (1755, to a poem by K. W. Ramler), which contains powerful choral writing and an effective fusing of recitative and arioso.’
    • ‘In Act 3 when Guido and Emilia meet, he urges her to kill him in a remarkable sequence of secco recitative, accompanied recitative and arioso.’
    • ‘The highlight of this final section, however, had to be the tenor arioso.’
    • ‘The characters have sections of their texts set in Lully's signature arioso with a few aria-like pieces here and there.’
    • ‘Bostridge then railed against destiny in a long arioso, but his powerlessness was symbolised by the next chorus.’


Italian, from aria.