Thursday, August 13, 2009

Operamania 101: Fire Up the Bat Signal

Still in a superhero kinda mood, this week's Operamania 101 will spotlight the thinking person's superhero: Batman. Without any superpowers such as invisibility, wall crawling or superhuman breath, Bruce Wayne used his smarts, his infinite moolah and technology to kick some serious criminal butts.

But like all superheroes, there was a trigger that spurred him to don on a latex costume and fight crime.

In Batman Begins, the 2005 movie by Christopher Nolan, the young Bruce Wayne falls down a well and right into the nest of a bat's cave, where he is swarmed.

Bruce's chiroptophobia from the recent trauma strikes one fateful night when he goes to see the Mefistofele opera with his parents. The bat costumed performers flapping around on stage bring back the memories of being attacked in the cave. Bruce asks to go home and the family leaves the opera early to meet their doom in a desolate alley.

Mefistofele is an opera based on the Faust legend and written by Italian composer Arrigo Boito. Mefistofele aka the Devil lays a bet with the heavens that he can win the soul of Faust. Instead of being terrified when Faust meets Mefistofele, he strikes a deal: his soul in exchange for worldly bliss.

The song Folletto! Folletto! as heard on Batman Begins is from Act 2: The Witches Sabbath. It is here where Mefistofele takes Faust to witness an orgy on Brocken Mountain. Faust then has a disturbing vision that his love, Margarita is in chains with her throat cut.

Not quite the appropriate viewing material for a young boy, yes? But then again, Bruce Wayne turned out to be not just an ordinary boy.

~ Ling Chan

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