One of the miracles of the opera genre, as of every dramatic genre, is the ability to pause or accelerate time. Another marvel, however, is an attribute that only musical dramatic genres share, and that is multiple singers of the cast expressing their emotions simultaneously. In the vast majority of duets people’s understanding and loving towards each other is portrayed, yet a duet can also depict their conflicts.
Scenes involving multiple characters, quartets, quintets or sextets are able to reflect different reactions given by the characters to a particular situation. The fourth act of Rigoletto presents the tangled relations between the five characters with a breathtaking contrast of their distinct musical features. This scene is one of the pinnacles of opera history.