The Men (i.e. Tenors, Baritones and Basses)
Male opera singers are just as crazy as the females, and just as likely to flay you alive if you get them mad, especially at performance time. Add to this an enormous ego and massive doses of testosterone, and you have a complete picture.
Like the females, male opera singers come in all sizes and shapes, the most popular being “larger than life.”
Opera is not for sissies. These guys have balls of steel. They are also the horniest bunch of Casanovas you will ever come across, especially on long tours or engagements, away from their families and friends for weeks or even months at a time. Their colleagues, male and female, are just as randy, just as lonely and just as free of constraints as they are, and there are occasional groupies, not to mention that stone cold fox (or guy) who waits tables at some local cafe. It’s always interesting to see who pairs off with whom on long tours. Some don’t even bother to pair off; they just take on anyone who looks promising.
Even the ugly ones don’t have any problem finding sex partners. A good male singing voice is the world’s most effective aphrodisiac. Forget oysters or champagne. Just sing a few bars of a favorite love song in full, round tones that caress the eardrums of the temporary beloved, and presto! Instant seduction.
In other words, if you are thinking of marrying or becoming a partner of a guy who has ambitions to sing opera, don’t expect him to be around the house all the time. And don’t keep the home fires burning while he gallivants all over the place. If you want him to keep it where it belongs, you’ll have to go with him wherever he gets hired, watch him like an eagle with binoculars and threaten to seriously hurt anyone who tries to get his attention.
When it comes to full-blown ego, male opera singers are world champions. That thing in their throats that makes it possible for them to make loud, gorgeous tones also sends vibrations into their heads and rearranges their brain cells, giving delusions of grandeur.
Onstage, the male singer expects to be the main object of the audience’s attention and love. This puts him in direct opposition to the female opera singer, who is after the same thing. The resulting love-hate relationship makes the lives of opera company administrators very interesting. If the man and the woman also have something hot and heavy going on offstage, things become really complicated, especially if one or the other or both of them are married to other people who, at the time, are off in some other place and unable to complain.
The great soprano Birgit Nilsson and the great tenor Franco Corelli did NOT have anything hot and heavy going offstage, but they did have an onstage rivalry. They were often cast together in Puccini’s opera Turandot. At one point late in that opera, the tenor is supposed to kiss the soprano with great passion and she is supposed to melt in his arms. Mr. Corelli complained to the General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera about Ms. Nilsson, and was told that, instead of kissing her, he could bite her. Mr. Corelli apparently told Ms. Nilsson about this advice, because the next day she called the office and, with her usual wonderful sense of humor, told the General Manager that she couldn’t sing her next performance because she had rabies!
Sopranos, tenors, mezzo-sopranos, baritones, contraltos and basses do manage to make beautiful music together onstage, which is why so many people become hooked on opera.