A rock opera refers to a set of songs, often collected in a single "concept album," with lyrics telling a single, overarching story. The opera is not intended to be played or acted out, with the listener left to feel and weave the story from listening to the album.

To bring these limited works of art to a broader audience, artists from other media adapt it for either a stage play or a feature film. Here are some rock operas adapted for the stage and the screen for people to appreciate the genius behind these transcendent music pieces better.

"Tommy" - The Who (1969)

One of the most recognizable examples of a rock opera album, "Tommy," was first released in 1969 in London. As the result of Indian spiritual leader Meher Baba's teachings, The Who told the story of Tommy Walker - a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who experienced abuse and neglect during childhood and became a religious leader himself,

It has crossed platforms shortly after its release, earning a theater production by the Seattle Opera in 1971, a Roger Daltrey-led 1975 film, and a Broadway adaptation in 1992. The 1975 film famously featured Elton John as the flamboyant Pinball Wizard and Tina Turner as The Acid Queen, among others.

"Jesus Christ Superstar" - Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (1970)

While "Jesus Christ Superstar" has become a staple among theater productions around the world, with its modernized behavior and language slapped onto the disciples of Jesus, the source material was a 1970 album with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. 

Taking inspiration from The Messiah's last week, from his arrival in Jerusalem to his crucifixion, the story is mostly left to the audience's interpretation. Aside from its 1973 film adaptation, it has also been performed in multiple Broadway and West End productions and most significant theaters worldwide.

"The Wall" - Pink Floyd (1979)

By the end of the 1970s, Pink Floyd was already in its eleventh studio album - one that would rank among their best works. "The Wall" follows Pink, a rockstar alienated by his fame, with the titular wall representing his isolation from the rest of society.

It has been adapted into a 1982 musical film of the same name, directed by Alan Parker and starred punk rock legend, Bob Geldof. Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, the brain behind this concept, adapted the album into an opera with composer Julien Bilodeau and premiered it in Canada in 2017.

"American Idiot" - Green Day (2004)

In 2004, Green Day released "American Idiot," their seventh studio album, and spawned timeless singles engraved into the modern audience - including "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends." Its unprecedented success, and its nature as a rock opera album, invited a Broadway adaptation as well as prospects for a film adaptation.

Its sung-through stage adaptation expands a bit and features three young men living in the suburbs. A chunk of the play features a character's journey told through the five parts of the Green Day youth anthem "Jesus of Suburbia." Aside from all songs from the "American Idiot" album, it also includes songs from their next release, "21st Century Breakdown," such as "21 Guns."