Blood curdling opera
There’s always somebody making the case for opera in a pleading manner: please, listen, I swear it’s fun! The stories are so heartwarming…! If you only give them a chance... How about those stories that aren’t so heartwarming? Why should we assume our friend is turned on to opera by Mimi’s cold little hand rather than by Salome’s shenanigans? There’s also a gender split: entice your female friends (and gay male friends, I guess) with La traviata and La boheme and your straight male friends with an assortment of Wagner. How about not?
Dear opera novices, here are some not so winsome stories for your delectation:
Rigoletto (1851) – often gets recommended for its easy going melodies (La donna e mobile) but the Duke and the title character enjoy cruel and nasty pranks and the innocent heroine lets herself be murdered in the end.
La Gioconda (1876) – villain describes to dying heroine how he killed her mother.
Lulu (1937) – the opposite of Violetta, the gold-hearted courtesan of La traviata, Lulu is a cynical ho. People ruin their lives for her and she gets her own from Jack the Ripper.
The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) – contemporary plot, terrorists hi-jack a plane and shoot the eponymous hero point blank.
The Minotaur (2008) – rape, goring and eating of human flesh.
Written on Skin (2012) – jealous husband makes wife eat the heart of her love interest.