Here we come towards the most (in)famous holiday of the year. As opera lovers, the first thing that comes to mind when we start talking about Valentine’s day is of course – Crazy. Mostly though – the question that keeps coming into my mind is: Where are the happy endings in the Opera World? There are many operas that fall into kind of a basic formula:
Man / Woman / Sidekick / Maid
Love / Hate / Jealous Rage / Maddness
Thwarted / Revered / Threatened / Coerced
Villain / King / Prince dressed as Commoner/ Gypsy
Marriage / Murder /Suicide / All of the Options
AND THEY ALL
Live / Don’t Live…The End.
So where are the happy endings in Opera? In Traviata – are we happy at least that Alfredo and Violetta have come together at the end, only for Consumption to take her away from our promised “Ride off into the sunset moment?”
Mozart offers a few happy endings but the intrigue surrounding it sometimes leaves me wondering if it was in fact a happy ending – or did Wolfie just pull a fast one on me (thank you very much Cosi Fan Tutte!)
For those unfamiliar with the twisted and convoluted plot of Cosi fan Tutte, we have two couples happily in love. The men have this amazing idea to test the women’s fidelity. They put on mustaches to disguise themselves, and go off to woo the other’s woman. In the end, they “happily” switch back…but maybe it’s not so happy?
This is a video of perhaps the most Gorgeous Trio ever written though – so Cosi has some redeeming points!
Now, who are our most loved volatile couples? Couples who cause chaos and constant emotional strife for each other? The First couple I think of is Carmen and Don Jose. These 2 have some serious issues where love, jealousy and mind games are concerned! And how about Don Giovanni and Donna Anna – or Don Giovanni and Donna Elvira – or even Don Giovanni and Leporello? There is a love Quadrangle I would rather not get tangled into – but how I love to watch them all play out!!
I suppose, in the end, just about all operas have their share of emotional turmoil that comes with the characters and watching how they are going to play out is why we keep coming back. That bitter-sweet tang of a good tragedy – loving to hate those evil characters!
Please comment below and tell us your favorite Opera Couples of all time!