5 opera crossovers we're dying to see

5 opera crossovers we're dying to see

Jenna Simeonov

Just like any cult-like follower of an artistic genre, we spend more time than most thinking about imaginary opera character crossover stories. Would Manon and Musetta get along? Would Ellen Orford find anything to talk about with Rigoletto? And who would win in a duel: Papageno or Don Ottavio?

We’ve picked 5 of our favourite operatic crossovers that haven’t yet happened, but probably should. If you’ve got more to add to the list, let us know!

Violetta and Mimì

On a chance encounter in Paris, Violetta Valéry spots the lovely embroidery work of Mimì, and stops to ask her if it’s for sale. Mimì tries to answer, but gets overcome by a nasty cough she’s been fighting for what seems like forever. Violetta recognises some scary symptoms in Mimì, and in an act of generosity, she leaves Mimì the address for Dr. Grenvil. Mimì is polite enough to take the offer, but too proud to admit there’s no way she can afford a visit to the doctor. Saddest prequel ever.

Albert Herring and Nemorino

The two shy guys meet when Albert takes a gap year trip to Italy - you know, to broaden his horizons. Nemorino, ever the nice guy, offers to help when he sees Albert standing in the middle of the piazza, his face buried in a map and his wallet visibly poking out of his back pocket. After making small talk over the city’s confusing streets, the pair share a half litre of a nice Bordeaux that Nemorino recommends. The afternoon becomes a whirlwind of grappa shots, too much pizza, and funny duets; inevitably, Albert finds himself making a slurry international phone call to his mummy, asking her to wire money to pay the fines he and Nemorino incurred for public urination in the fountain.

The scene of the crime.

Carmen and Don Giovanni

In Leporello’s little catalogue, under those 1003 women Giovanni seduced in Spain, the name “Carmen” stands out. For Giovanni, the man notorious for breaking hearts, Carmen remains one of the few women who really did a number on him. Their steamy affair starts off great, with lots of wine, dancing, and knife play. But when Carmen doesn’t start stalking or fawning over him in the way he’s used to, Giovanni finds himself feeling vulnerable. If Giovanni had known that Carmen was super into him, but she was trying to play it cool, things might have gone a bit differently. Instead, the relationship fizzles unnecessarily when neither of them are willing to admit that the enjoy the other’s company, and neither of them have the guts to admit they want to date exclusively. Some say Giovanni never got over Carmen…

Werther and the Marschallin

Well before he started moping around Charlotte’s house, and before she met the rosy-cheeked young Octavian, the young Werther and the elegant Marschallin have an affair right out of the most romantickest romance novel you’ve ever read. Their passionate lovemaking is only part of their emotionally charged routine; there are mornings spent weeping on vanities, afternoons spent pushing expensive food around silver plates while they smoke, and a few attempts at painting meaningful portraits of one another. Their affair ends when the Marschallin meets Octavian, who isn’t such a downer, and Werther sulks off to Germany.

An early portrait of the Marschallin, by Werther.

Falstaff and Fafner

After a particularly ambitious night of drinking, Sir John Falstaff makes the fateful decision to walk home and let the fresh air do its magic. Predictably, Falstaff veers far off course, and ends up in the woods. The combination of his belching, singing, and loud drunken soliloquies is enough to wake up the grouchy Fafner, a dragon who values his sleep. Surprisingly, Falstaff’s jolly demeanour diffuses the usual rage that Fafner feels upon being woken up; the dragon takes the knight up on his offer for more wine, and the two get along famously. They drink until sunrise, disturbing the quiet forest with their booming, bassy laughs. When Falstaff finally leaves, Fafner passes out before drinking any water at all, which might explain his mood the next time he’s roused…

Dying to see your own operatic crossover? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch at [email protected].

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