Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Great f'd up opera love

In honor, or more likely to spite, Valentine's Day, a few opera characters looking for love in all the wrong places:

  • Kundry tries the ol' "Too bad about your mutter...wanna do it?" line...it kind of works. mp3 (Kollo/Ludwig/Solti)
  • Tannhauser tells that pansy Wolfram what he thinks of his "hohe Liebe." mp3 (Domingo/Schmidt/Sinopoli)
  • Marie takes a break from her boyfriend's descent into madness by submitting to the lust of a sadistic drum major. Way to make those healthy choices, Marie. mp3 (Silja/Uhl/Bohm)
  • Thrown in the river by lousy cockteases Alice Ford and co., Falstaff gives it up for his real love: getting trashed. mp3 (Gobbi/Karajan)
These of course limited by what I had on hand. Your own nominations for most sad and misguided opera romances welcome below.


Anonymous said...

Can you do more wacked out than Die Gezeichneten? Deformed nobleman loves woman with weak heart, woman gets bagged and tagged by other nobleman and dies, hunchback goes insane? That's a champion in the category of Strange Opera Plots.

Chalkenteros said...

uhh ... Samson et Dalila! I love that the Met chucked the obvious valentines day opera (Romeo & Juliet) and went instead with a misogynist gay biblical fantasia the moral of which is (to quote Mr. Garrison) "poontang is poontang." Dalila = the great succubus.

(speaking of which, have you *seen* all the hot bods on display in that production?! my opera glasses were fogging up this evening)

Maury D'annato said...

Oh, jeez. Where to begin... Vanessa? A Kekszakallu Herceg Vara? (Ok I'm showing off my four words of Hugarian. It's Bluebeard's castle.) Turandot? [Dating tip: if she spent most of the opera trying to have you beheaded, even once she's decided she digs you, it's probably still going to be a pretty wacky relationship.]

meretrice i. d'oscena said...

Liu is the one looking in the wrong place. When you stab yourself for a tenor's sake, and he basically steps over your dead body to sing a duet with the soprano who was having you tortured: he's just not that into you.
And the duet is not even by Puccini- the nerve of some people.

Maury D'annato said...

Good point.
I almost used the "just not that into you" line. Jinx, almost.

Henry Holland said...

Can you do more wacked out than Die Gezeichneten? Deformed nobleman loves woman with weak heart, woman gets bagged and tagged by other nobleman and dies, hunchback goes insane? That's a champion in the category of Strange Opera Plots.

Great libretto, seriously. I saw a production in Stuttgart a few years that left me absolutely shattered. Added bonus: German extra's with their schwanzes flopping around during the orgy scene. Schreker also has his extremely great Der Ferne Klang (being done by Leon Botstein and his ASO in concert in April, 07--GO!):

Act I: Fritz, a composer, leaves Grete to search for Der Ferne Klang (=money, fame). Grete's drunken dad loses her hand in marriage in a bet to an innkeeper, who hints that if she wants to make some extra marks by flirting with customers, what the hey.

Act II: Ten years later. Grete is now the star attraction at a bordello in Venice. While a count and a duke fight over her, Fritz shows up. Realizing that Grete is a ho, he recoils in horror and leaves. Grete leaves with the duke.

Act III: Five years after that. Abandoned by the duke, Grete is now a common streetwalker. She finds out where Fritz is and goes to him, as he is dying from illness. Just before he dies, he finally hears Der Ferne Klang: it was Grete's love all along, not fame or money that he was seeking.

Great, great opera that would be perfect for a good lyric tenor (I always hear Wunderlich in my head singing it) as Fritz and someone like Leonie singing Grete.

[climbs down off Schreker hobby horse]

Maury D'annato said...

"Kundry tries the ol' "Too bad about your mutter...wanna do it?" line..."

You know what Mrs. Parker said: a girl's best friend is her mutter.

Incidentally is this a Schreker fan club I see forming, because sign me up.

Henry Holland said...

Of the many tragedies of Christopher Keene's early death, one of the most acute for me was that he was considering Gezeichneten for a future NYCO season. *Sigh*

I've seen productions of the four big Schreker operas: Der Ferne Klang, Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin, Gezeichneten and Der Schatzgraber and they are all fantastic pieces in the theatre. The man knew how to write for the stage.

The American Symphony Orchestra doesn't have news up about the 2006-07 season yet, so I'm curious to see who they've cast for their concert performance of Der Ferne Klang; hopefully, it'll be another release for them on Teldec.

Baritenor said...

WHen talkin' bout mesed up love, one can't get more messed up than the love pentagon in Salome: Herodias is married to Herodes, who is in love with Salome, who is in love with Johnny, and is also loved by Narraboth, who's page friend probably wants to get into his pants. (Brokeback Cisturn, anyone?)

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altodivo said...

Are there any operas where people are looking for love in the RIGHT places? Without some hideous obstacle/disaster, there ain't no opera. I'm sure one day someone will write a nice opera about well adjusted people going through life hassle free, I certainly won't go to it.

I think Elektra has to take the cake. She loved Daddy WAY too much, loses him, associated her sister (actually a nice person) too much with her Mother, and the second another male family member comes along...wham, all the love she had for Daddy is transferred to Oreste.

Salome also has Daddy issues. Her father is killed by the man who marries her Mama (not a nice person) and leches after her the whole time. Jokanaan is a father-leader figure she latches onto bcause he's the first person ever to say 'no' to her.

Die Frau in 'Erwartung', I always thought if she would just buy a map she would find her way outta that damned forest...

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