The four tracks that play during the sequence are "Opening," "Aria di Mezzo Carattere," "The Wedding," and "Grand Finale?".
In the game's original Japanese version the music is closely aligned with the lyrics, although because of technical limitations no voice is heard except for an attempt at recreating a voice on the SPC700 sound format.
The "Aria di Mezzo Carattere," one of Final Fantasy's most famous musical themes, is performed within the opera.
In order to establish contact with Setzer, the owner of the only functional airship in the World of Balance, the Blackjack, Celes impersonates the opera singer Maria, with whom Setzer is in love. Although Celes successfully poses as Maria for the majority of the opera, Locke discovers during the performance that Ultros is planning on dropping a weight on Celes from the rafters.
The attempt to stop him ends with Locke, his allies and Ultros plummeting to the stage, knocking the actors playing Ralse and Draco unconscious. Locke thus attempts (and somewhat succeeds) to improvise this into the opera, and after battling Ultros, Setzer appears and kidnaps Celes as per the original plan.
The opera is mostly in the game for one's enjoyment but also features a small game element. Three times during the opera the player has to pick the correct line for Celes to sing. Failing to do so will stop the opera and the player must do a new attempt; it is easy to guess which line is the correct one, however.
The armies of the East are battling the forces of the West. The hero of the Western army is a warrior named Draco, who is in love with the Western princess, Maria. When the West loses the war against the East and Draco is presumed lost, Maria is forced to marry the Eastern Prince, Ralse.
During a ball, the survivors of the West, led by Draco, launch a surprise attack. A duel ensues between Draco and Ralse, in which the latter is defeated and Maria and Draco go on to live happily ever after.
The opera has been arranged and performed live in its entirety numerous times, both in English and Japanese. Its lyrical content has varied accordingly, although it is possible to determine four different (albeit minimally so) versions of it:
The Japanese and the English versions of the SNES release of Final Fantasy VI.
The Japanese and the English versions of the GBA release of the game.
"Darkness and Starlight" is a rock arrangement of Maria and Draco included in the Black Mages' third studio album The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight. Because the opera scene in the game ends abruptly with Celes's kidnapping just before Draco and Ralse's duel, the whole lyrical content was unknown until this release. The album features the complete opera scene in a rock rearrangement which, while slightly deviating from the original version, was made to be as faithful to the original opera as it may.
The recording for the Black Mages' third studio album had already started when the idea of adding Maria and Draco came to Uematsu, and he decided to add it because he wanted to try something new with the album. He has stated that nothing had really changed from when he was composing Final Fantasy VI; he always wants the challenge of something new.
Seigun to tougun no tatakai wa
himashi ni hageshiku natte ita.
Seigun no Garuu-jou no senshi
Draco wa gekisen no senchi de
bokoku ni nokoshite kita
Maria no koto o omou...
Watashi no koe ga todoite iru ka
Omae no moto e
Seigun wa yabure, Maria no shiro wa
Tougun no shihaika ni okareta.
Tougun no ouji Ralse no kekkon o
Shiirareta Maria wa
Draco e no omoi o sutekirezu
Maiban yozora o mite wa
Koibito o omou...
Itoshi no anata wa tooi tokoro e?
Iro asenu, towa no ai, chikatta bakari ni
Kanashii toki ni mo, tsurai toki ni mo,
Sora ni furu, ano hoshi o anata to omoi.
Nozomanu chigiri o kawasu no desu ka?
Dou sureba? Nee anata? Kotoba o matsu.
Ikinokotta wazuka bakari no seigun heishi ga
Saigo no chikara o furishibori
Garuu-jou ni semeitta.
Sono sentou ni tachi otakebi morotomo
Tougun heishi o nagitaoshite iku
Kizu darake no hitori no yuusha.
Senshi Draco ga kaette kita no da!
Kono hi wo shinjiteta.
Maria wa kono watashi no
Kisaki ni naru beki hito da.
Inochi tsukihateyou tomo
Hanashi wa shinai.
Maria no tame ni inochi o kakeru
Ai no ookisa naraba dare ni mo makenu
Omae ni totte no Maria to wa?
Dore hodo daiji da?
Kisama ni iwareru made mo naku
Tottemo daiji da
Yahari tatakau shika nai ka
Draco and Ralse
Watashi no mono da
Make wa shinai!
Ryousha ippo taritomo ushiro ni wa nokanu
hageshii tatakai de atta.
Shikashi shoubu wa toki no un de aru.
Fukade o otta Draco no hanatta saigo no hitotsuki ga
When Final Fantasy VI was first released key chains depicting the game's cast were available in Japanese vending machines. A Celes as Maria from the opera is one such key chain that was sold.
The Final Fantasy Cold Cast Collection is a limited edition collectible series featuring cold cast statues that display notable scenes from Final Fantasy series. Only 3,000 Celes and opera house cold casts were made, each coming with a card and card stand that had the statue's limited number and description. The series has been out of production since 1999.