A true operatic classic: "Kill the wabbit!"

A true operatic classic: "Kill the wabbit!"

It propelled the stereotype that opera singers are angry, horned ladies. It taught us some of Wagner's best tunes, before we even realized what they were. It tugged at our heartstrings, tickled our funny bones.

What's Opera, Doc?, the 1957 animated, musical short was part of the Merrie Melodies series that Chuck Jones directed for Warner Bros. Arthur Q. Bryan flexes his singing chops as Elmer Fudd (Siegfried), and Mel Blanc does his famous Bugs Bunny (Brünnhilde). What's Opera, Doc? has been preserved in the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress, which deemed it as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"; it also holds the #1 spot in Jerry Beck's 1994 book, The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals.

It's one of the most epic face-offs between Bugs and Elmer, cloaked in a 7-minute version of the entirety of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. If you haven't yet seen it, get comfy and prepare yourself for some genius.

Our favourite line is when Bugs echoes Elmer's line like it's the saddest thing he's ever heard: "...kill the wabbit...?"

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Written by

Jenna Simeonov

Jenna Simeonov

Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera.com. She's also a pianist, vocal coach, and répétiteur, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera. Her favourite operas include Peter Grimes, Ariadne auf Naxos, Tristan und Isolde, Written on Skin, and Anna Nicole.

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