Friday, July 31, 2009

Top Ten Fridays: Opera's 10 Most Wanted

Baddies. Everybody loves 'em. But of course no one wants to be on the receiving end of a bad guy's ire and punishment. However, without villains, opera would not be dramatic. Or provocative. Or talked about. It simply would not be "op-er-ah."

So while we're sit in the comforts of the red plush seat, in the dark of the theatre, we can enjoy the villainy taking place on the stage, without any guilt.

This week we invite you to tell us on the right side poll who is the most evil opera villain. Results will be posted next week. *Cue twirling of handlebar mustache and evil laugh*

Who: Iago in Otello
Why: Power hungry Iago tricks Otello into thinking that his wife, Desdemona and Cassio have been having an affair. Only after Otello kills his beloved wife, does he realize how Iago had deceived him. (14% of the votes)

Who: Don Giovanni
Why: He views women as sport and plays with their feelings recklessly. Donna Elvira whom he abandons, Donna Anna whom he tries to rape (and kills her father) and Donna Zerlina whom he tries to lure away from her fiance. All 3 vow revenge on Don Giovanni. He gets his comeuppance however by being dragged to hell. (14% of the votes)

Who: Salome
Why: She desires John the Baptist. John the Baptist refuses her. Salome goes off the deep end and has him beheaded. Then goes on to perform some necrophilia. (28% of the votes)

Who: Lady Macbeth in Macbeth
Why: An ambitious woman, Lady Macbeth is disgusted when her husband can not carry out the murder of King Duncan. So instead, takes it upon herself to kill the king in his sleep. But later suffers pangs of guilt for her part in the crime. (14% of the votes)

Who: Scarpia in Tosca
Why: A sadist who lusts after Tosca whom he forces her to watch as he tortures her lover, Cavaradossi. Tosca succumbs to his advances when Scarpia writes a guarantee of safe passage for her and Cavaradossi. After Tosca murders Scarpia, she realizes that she has been tricked. There was no guarantee. Cavaradossi is executed by firing squad. (57% of the votes)

Who: Count Di Luna in Il trovatore
Why: Another man wanting a woman he can't have. Di Luna loves Leonara who is in love with Manrico. Di Luna sentences Manrico's gypsy mother Azucena to be burned at the stake. When he can't get Leonara to truly be his, he executes Manrico. Then finds out that he was his brother. (7% of the votes)

Who: Barnaba of La gioconda
Why: Barnaba lusts after La Gioconda. When she rejects him, he denounces her blind mother as a witch. Gioconda stabs herself to death rather than give into Barnaba. As a last act of evil, Barnaba screams at Gioconda's lifeless body that he had her blind mother drowned. (7% of the votes)

Who: Kaspar in Der Freisch├╝tz
Why: Trying to get out of a deal with the devil for his immortal soul, Kaspar tricks Max into casting 7 magic bullets to be used in a shooting contest. All so he could obtain 3 more years of life in exchange for Max in his place. One of those bullets hit his beloved Agathe. (7% of the votes)

Who: Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress
Why: A devilish character, Nick Shadow "influences" Tom with the sleazy life of london's underbelly, gets him to marry a bearded lady and mass produce a machine that turn stones into bred, bringing him financial ruin. Tom wins his soul back with a card game but not before Nick condemns Tom to insanity. (14% of the votes)

Who: Aegistheus in Elektra
Why: Elektra's mother Klytaemnestra enlists her paramour Aegisthus to murder her husband and Elektra's father, Agamemnon. Elektra swears revenge and gets her brother to kill Klytaemnestra and Aegisthus. As Electra dances in triumph on her father's tomb, she suddenly drops dead. (no votes)

Who said opera was boring?

~ Ling Chan

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