Party animals of opera

Party animals of opera

Jenna Simeonov

It’s the holiday season, readers, and there’s more excuses than usual to break out the wine, champagne, egg nog, and really old scotch. (Well, maybe not, since you’re all artists.)

So, let’s pay homage to some of opera’s greatest, booziest parties, and their onstage results. We’re starting with what should really become the new Brindisi scene at opera galas. Eva-Maria Westbroek and Gerald Finley, everybody:

Now, for something a little more tipsy-cute and a lot less of a wasted mess, here’s the adorable Anne Sofie von Otter singing “Ah quel diner,” from La Périchole:

In a more I-drink-every-goddamn-day sort of inebriation, there’s Prince Orlofsky of Die Fledermaus fame. Johann Strauss writes a few operatic hiccups in his aria, and in her performance, Agnes Baltsa sings them more as a consistently drunk man set on making his point without being interrupted. Have I mentioned how much I love Agnes Baltsa?

Ah, the days when minors got drunk and we could laugh about it. “But oh, the taste of that lemonade,” croons Albert Herring, as he revisits the aftermath of his big day as the May King. Who hasn’t had too much “lemonade,” and come home to discard one’s pants, reminisce about baked goods, and wonder if one’s crush likes one back?

There are more famous drinking songs out there, like the Brindisi from La traviata or “Fin ch’han dal vino” from Don Giovanni, but I like this one from Nicolai’s Die lustige Weiber von Windsor. “Als Büblein klein” is Sir John Falstaff’s ode to alcohol, and it always makes me giggle; there’s something brilliant about a bass huffing away in German, half in the bag. Plus, this video of Günter Wewel singing the aria is almost too much to handle sober. I want to see a “Where Are They Now?” special for the folks at the tables.

Parties don’t aways go off without a hitch, as most of us know. Sometimes someone gets angry drunk or keeps interrupting conversations with downer anecdotes. Like a good office Christmas party, some drinking buddies are just in it for self-preservation. Like this desperate bout of drinking in Peter Grimes:

Findally, I think we just need to end with more Die Fledermaus. Here’s a clip from The Metropolitan Opera’s production in 2013, also currently onstage until January 7th. Anthony Roth Costanzo is Orlofsky, Jane Archibald is Adele, and Christopher Maltman is Eisenstein.



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