More Opera for People Who Don’t Like It | HumorOutcasts

More Opera for People Who Don’t Like It

January 25, 2014
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Would you buy a used car from this guy?

Would you buy a used car from this guy?

In my last post, I talked about prostitutes, psychos and tuberculosis. In this one, I will discuss various violent means by which operatic characters meet their ends. Some of these would make the ID Channel look like Sesame Street.

Are you ready for this?

A Stabbing, a Firing Squad and a Jump

Opera: Tosca
Composer: Giacomo Puccini

A mean, evil, sadistic and repulsive but sexy* police chief named Scarpia is on the tail of an idealistic, brave and romantic painter named Mario. The idealistic, brave and romantic painter named Mario is in love with a gorgeous opera star with a jealous streak worse than Othello’s and a temper to match. Her name is Tosca. In other words, again we have a psycho, but this time it’s a woman.

There are no prostitutes in this opera, but the painter and the singer have a hot thing going for free. A lot goes on in Mario’s place, mostly wild monkey sex. We don’t see any of that, though, because the first act takes place in church, and the rest of the opera is mostly about torture, sexual power games, murder – things that make people want to sing beautiful music at the top of their lungs.

The evil police chief arrests Mario, tortures him a little, and tells Tosca that he will let Mario go if she will stick around and give him a good time. Tosca stabs him to death to teach him a lesson. She meets Mario the next morning, in the jail where he has a date with a firing squad. You see, this is supposed to be a fake execution, in return for the tumble Tosca was supposed to give Scarpia, which he never got because she stabbed him instead. Anyway, it turns out that Scarpia was lying (the jerk!) and Mario gets shot to death for real. Tosca decides that if everyone else is dead she might as well be, too, and she climbs up onto the wall of the jail and jumps.

Harakiri

Opera: Madama Butterfly
Composer: Giacomo Puccini again

Only one person dies in this opera, and it isn’t the one the audience wishes would die.

An arrogant, overprivileged, thoughtless, racist ass of an American naval lieutenant named B.F. Pinkerton marries a young, teenaged Japanese geisha named Butterfly, or Cio Cio San. Butterfly doesn’t know what an arrogant, overprivileged, thoughtless, racist ass she has married, and she really loves the creep. Pinkerton stays around long enough to knock Butterfly up, then he sails away again. Three years later, he comes back, bringing with him his new American wife. Butterfly figures that two women in the same house sharing the same man won’t work, so she makes her exit in true Japanese tradition – with a knife. Pinkerton is sorry for being a jerk, but that doesn’t do anyone much good, especially Butterfly, who is dead.

Opera Singer Performing in her Stage Dress - Isolated on WhiteIn addition to the above examples, you have Bizet’s Carmen, which ends up (again) with the leading lady being skewered by a knife, this time held by the leading man. There is also Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, in which the leading lady takes poison, the leading man is beheaded (offstage, of course) and the leading man’s mother is about to be burned at the stake.

Somebody usually dies in an opera. Sometimes two people die. Having three people die is a bit over the top, but when the characters are as stupid, crazy or obnoxious as they are in Il Trovatore, it can be a relief to get rid of three of them. I have seen an audience applaud when Scarpia got stabbed in Act II of Tosca (an audience of teenagers – what do you expect?), but the Alfred Hitchcock-type ending is only saved by the music, the suspense, and the fact that it happens so fast the audience doesn’t have time to get all sad and everything.

*That’s because the role is written for a baritone, and baritones are naturally sexy, even the ugly ones.

Kathy Minicozzi

Kathy Minicozzi is an opera singer turned aspiring writer, who lives somewhere in New York City. In other words, she's weird, but harmless. She is the author of "Opera for People Who Don't Like It," in which she turns the world of opera and its performers upside down while, at the same time, making it understandable to non-opera lovers and making everyone laugh.

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9 Responses to More Opera for People Who Don’t Like It

  1. January 28, 2014 at 3:16 am

    With all these opera singers dying, how do they find anyone willing to replace them?

    • Kathy Minicozzi
      January 29, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Well, there are probably about 50 singers for each available job, so death is no obstacle. 😉

      • January 30, 2014 at 12:22 am

        Maybe … but as they say in “The Princess Bride”, never go up against a Sicilian opera singer when death is on the line …

  2. Bill Y Ledden
    January 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I tend to lose interest in the opera’s that have no prostitutes. Tell us more about prostitutes please.

    • Kathy Minicozzi
      January 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Well, I guess I could throw in a few references to prostitutes, just for you. 😉

  3. January 26, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I thought women all went for the tenors! Pavarotti, Bocelli, Josh Groban, etc. It seems even in pop music that male lead singers need to have a high natural or falsetto range to be popular.

    • Kathy Minicozzi
      January 26, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Actually, a great male singing voice of any range is a natural aphrodisiac. Just look at all those old movie musicals. To create a romantic moment, what does the leading man do? He sings! 😉

  4. January 25, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Kathy, I think you are making opera lovers out of everyone or nearly everyone!

    • Kathy Minicozzi
      January 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      I was just hoping for some good laughs, but gaining some new opera lovers is a nice side benefit. 😀



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