Poll

Who is your all-time favorite opera villain?

Scarpia, duh
1 (3.3%)
Alberich
3 (10%)
Klingsor
0 (0%)
Don Pizarro
0 (0%)
Don Giovanni
7 (23.3%)
The Queen of Night
3 (10%)
Hagen
1 (3.3%)
Clytemnestra
0 (0%)
Ortrud
1 (3.3%)
Some other, who?
14 (46.7%)

Total Members Voted: 29

Author Topic: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain  (Read 9724 times)

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Offline Alberich

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Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« on: July 15, 2013, 11:53:56 AM »
Sometimes the villains get the biggest cheers from the audience. But who is your favorite? And yes, I am aware that you might disagree whether some of these are villains at all but simply victims of circumstances. So please don't yell at me if you do. Even I might disagree whether some of these are more of Byronic heroes or tragic heroes a la Shakespeare such as my personal favorite which is...

You guessed it: Alberich! This guy literally rules the Ring Cycle with golden fist and is also one of the only characters who doesn't get killed off. He does some very bad things such as enslaving his own people but ultimately I cannot help but feeling sorry for him. Even Wagner, according to Cosima's diary dated 1877 (during his last and most anti-semitic years) said that he "once felt every sympathy for Alberich, who represents the ugly person’s longing for beauty."

But who is your choice, is it the menacing Scarpia, Lady Macbeth-like Ortrud or perhaps greatest casanova in opera, Don Giovanni?
"I am a shadowy reflection of you."

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2013, 12:25:03 PM »
Mime, the Niebelung dwarf, brother of Alberich in Wagner's Rheingold and Siegfried. Like Gollum in LOTR, he's an obsessed and obsequious little monster with a heart as black as coal. And like Gollum he provides many comic as well as chillingly evil moments.

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2013, 12:28:38 PM »
Don Giovanni for me. But I thought about the write in vote of Iago.
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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 12:31:59 PM »
Mime, the Niebelung dwarf, brother of Alberich in Wagner's Rheingold and Siegfried. Like Gollum in LOTR, he's an obsessed and obsequious little monster with a heart as black as coal. And like Gollum he provides many comic as well as chillingly evil moments.

Sarge

Not Loge?

Offline knight66

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2013, 01:46:51 PM »
Not quite typical, but how about Eugene Onegin. He damages a young woman with his cold destain and drives his best friend to distraction by firting with the friend's intended. A duel ensues and he kills the best friend. He then goes and dumps his pathetic self on the now mature woman he previously destained, thereby risking damage to her reputation and making her loving husband jealous.

What a creep.

Mike
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 02:29:03 PM »
Excellent choice, Mike.

I might choose Medea, but then actually I think Giasone rather worse. After all, it is he who sets in motion the terrible train of events, that results in Medea killing his future bride and her and Jason's own children. Having used Medea to secure the Golden Fleece, made her his mistress and had two children with her, Jason unceremoniously dumps her at the prospect of an advantageous marriage with Creon's daughter. He might not have expected Medea to exact her revenge in quite the way she does, but he night at least have expected that she wouldn't take his betrayal lying down. Surely he should have remembered that she killed her own brother, having his body dismembered and scattering his limbs into the sea so that her father would stop to pick up the pieces, thus effecting Jason's escape with the Fleece. Obviously not just vain, but stupid.


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Online Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 07:02:06 PM »
Not Loge?

The Duke in Rigoletto: egocentric, sexual predator, and sociopathic, since he doesn't seem to even notice the damage his depredations cause.  Don Giovanni is similar, but less evil, I think--at least he's aware of the malignant effects his actions have on other people. 

Loge is for me one of the most symphathetic characters in the Ring.  He's the one who grasps the moral problems before anyone else, and sees them more completely.  And the libertarian in me very much likes the lines--obviously satiric--with which he closes out Das Rheingold.

Quote

LOGE (in das Tal hinab rufend)
Ihr da im Wasser!
was weint ihr herauf?
Hört, was Wotan
euch wünscht!
Glänzt nicht mehr
euch Mädchen das Gold,
in der Götter neuem Glanze
sonnt euch selig fortan!


(Wotan takes Fricka’s hand and slowly walks to the bridge; Froh, Freia and Donner follow.)
LOGE
(remaining in the foreground and looking back at the gods)
They are hurrying to their end, though strong and enduring they think themselves.  I am almost ashamed to collaborate with them; into flickering flame to transform myself back, I am strongly tempted:
to burn them up who once tamed me, and not with them blindly and stupidly to pass away, godliest gods though they be! Seems to me by no means foolish!
I will think it over: who knows what I may do!
(He goes nonchalantly to join the gods.)
THE THREE RHINEDAUGHTERS
(in the valley below, invisible)
Rhinegold! Rhinegold! Pure gold! How pure and bright you once gleamed upon us! For you and your brightness, we lament now: give us the gold!  O give us back the pure gold!
WOTAN
(stopping on the point of setting foot on the bridge and turning round)
Who’s that grumbling to me?
LOGE (peering down into the valley)
The children of the Rhine, lamenting the theft of the gold!
WOTAN (to Loge)
Damned mermaids!  Stop them irritating us!
LOGE (calling down into the valley)
You there in the water!  what are you crying to us for?  Listen to what Wotan desires for you!  No longer gleams the gold on you girls, but in the gods’ new radiance you can happily bask now!

(The gods laugh and, during the following, cross the bridge.)
THE THREE RHINEDAUGHTERS
Rhinegold! Rhinegold!  Pure gold! If only you still shone your bright glitter in the depths!  Tender and true are only the depths:  False and fated is all that rejoices up there!
(The curtain falls as the gods cross the bridge to the fortress.)


Offline springrite

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 07:34:11 PM »
I voted for Don Giovanni. But really, he is not a villian. A hero, maybe.
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Parsifal

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 09:13:10 PM »
The Duke in Rigoletto: egocentric, sexual predator, and sociopathic, since he doesn't seem to even notice the damage his depredations cause.  Don Giovanni is similar, but less evil, I think--at least he's aware of the malignant effects his actions have on other people. 

Malignant, perhaps, but with all the subtlety of Yosemite Sam in a Looney Tune, a cartoon character.

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 02:45:38 AM »
Vitellia, Abigaille.
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 03:59:09 AM »
Not quite typical, but how about Eugene Onegin. He damages a young woman with his cold destain and drives his best friend to distraction by firting with the friend's intended. A duel ensues and he kills the best friend. He then goes and dumps his pathetic self on the now mature woman he previously destained, thereby risking damage to her reputation and making her loving husband jealous.

What a creep.

Mike

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Offline The new erato

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 05:14:27 AM »
Iago (Otello)

Of course he is a greater villain in the play but Verdi's masterpiece does him justice.
You just beat me to it. Verdi's greatest opera as well IMO.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 06:08:56 AM »
The Duke in Rigoletto: egocentric, sexual predator, and sociopathic, since he doesn't seem to even notice the damage his depredations cause.  Don Giovanni is similar, but less evil, I think--at least he's aware of the malignant effects his actions have on other people. 

Which is exactly the reason that I chose DG. When you are aware of the havoc you cause and it only spurs you on to more, that is distinctly more evil than when you are oblivious to it all. DG reveled in all the people that he ruined!  Shall I sing you a catalog of them?   >:D

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Offline springrite

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 06:26:03 AM »
Which is exactly the reason that I chose DG. When you are aware of the havoc you cause and it only spurs you on to more, that is distinctly more evil than when you are oblivious to it all. DG reveled in all the people that he ruined!  Shall I sing you a catalog of them?   >:D

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Imagine the fit of jealousy among some in the audience while listening to The Catalog...
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Offline Alberich

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 06:37:44 AM »
I'd like to apologize for having so few villains but really I couldn't list them all. Although I admit that the fact that I didn't remember to put a single Verdi villain in this list was a monstrous mistake. I actually recall that I was going to add Iago and Amneris, I didn't add Iago because, although masterful character in the opera, is mostly pretty much similar to the original magnificent bastard, apart from his wonderful Credo and so is not that an original creation. Of course, most characters are based on something, even Alberich was combination of Andvari of norse mythology and Alberich of Nibelungenlied, although still in many ways IMHO highly original character. It's just that Shakespeare's Iago is much more known than for ex. Andvari.

 And with the case of Amneris, I just freaking forgot her. I was going to put her on the list but I just forgot. I probably still won't edit this vote, because when I make a mistake, editing it out often seems dishonest, like I was denying that I ever did anything wrong. That's also why I didn't edit my posts when I acted like a jerk a few times towards Scarpia because we had different opinions. Sorry about that.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 06:40:35 AM by Alberich »
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Offline springrite

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2013, 06:52:13 AM »
I'd like to apologize for having so few villains but really I couldn't list them all. Although I admit that the fact that I didn't remember to put a single Verdi villain in this list was a monstrous mistake. I actually recall that I was going to add Iago and Amneris, I didn't add Iago because, although masterful character in the opera, is mostly pretty much similar to the original magnificent bastard, apart from his wonderful Credo and so is not that an original creation. Of course, most characters are based on something, even Alberich was combination of Andvari of norse mythology and Alberich of Nibelungenlied, although still in many ways IMHO highly original character. It's just that Shakespeare's Iago is much more known than for ex. Andvari.

 And with the case of Amneris, I just freaking forgot her. I was going to put her on the list but I just forgot. I probably still won't edit this vote, because when I make a mistake, editing it out often seems dishonest, like I was denying that I ever did anything wrong. That's also why I didn't edit my posts when I acted like a jerk a few times towards Scarpia because we had different opinions. Sorry about that.

With that nice, genuine and sincere post, Alberich should be officially removed as a villain as well.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 06:55:24 AM by springrite »
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Offline Todd

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2013, 07:20:24 AM »
Boris Godunov. 

After that, it's a toss up between Kostelnička and Alberich.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2013, 08:27:10 AM »
I'd like to apologize for having so few villains but really I couldn't list them all. Although I admit that the fact that I didn't remember to put a single Verdi villain in this list was a monstrous mistake. I actually recall that I was going to add Iago and Amneris, I didn't add Iago because, although masterful character in the opera, is mostly pretty much similar to the original magnificent bastard, apart from his wonderful Credo and so is not that an original creation. Of course, most characters are based on something, even Alberich was combination of Andvari of norse mythology and Alberich of Nibelungenlied, although still in many ways IMHO highly original character. It's just that Shakespeare's Iago is much more known than for ex. Andvari.

 And with the case of Amneris, I just freaking forgot her. I was going to put her on the list but I just forgot. I probably still won't edit this vote, because when I make a mistake, editing it out often seems dishonest, like I was denying that I ever did anything wrong. That's also why I didn't edit my posts when I acted like a jerk a few times towards Scarpia because we had different opinions. Sorry about that.
No worries. There are tons of villains in opera, and coming up with a handful is tough. The other one I thought of was the witch from Hansel and Gretel. I'm not sure it really matters whether the opera was original or adapted, because most are adapted in some way or another. Still, I like the idea of the poll.
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2013, 10:11:10 AM »
Rigoletto and Peter Grimes!  The most memorable anti-heroes ever! 8)

My second choice is Queen of the Night, only because of all the high F's.  And she usually gets the greatest costumes. ;D
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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Your favorite opera villain/anti-villain
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2013, 07:27:11 PM »
Boris Godunov. 

After that, it's a toss up between Kostelnička and Alberich.

I'd throw Prince Shiusky on the Boris pile, as well.

The mention of Kostelnička (I'd say Števa's even worse) reminds me of a line Ernest Newman's review of the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Jenůfa: "A more complete collection of undesirables and incredibles has never previously appeared in opera."  I wonder if Mr. Newman saw the British premiere of Káťa Kabanová?  Kabanicha and Dikoy give the Jenůfa undesirables a run for their money.
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