Nothing to do with opera. Term to describe long‐running, often daily or several‐times‐weekly serial on tv and radio, e.g. (in Britain) Coronation Street, EastEnders, The Archers. Genre originated in USA on commercial radio and was sponsored by a firm—soap manufacturer, for instance—wishing to advertise its product. Irreverently, one could claim The Ring as the biggest soap opera in the world.
Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).