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Bad opera fathers and good ones

Five dads from Verdi, one from Wagner, one from Puccini

Gianni Schicchi, a father who betrayed the trust of his clients in order to provide for his family.
Gianni Schicchi, a father who betrayed the trust of his clients in order to provide for his family.
Video:

From Verdi's Rigoletto

Ettore Bastianini - Povero Rigoletto.

Ettore Bastianini - Povero Rigoletto.

Since Father’s Day is coming up, let’s look at some operatic fathers and decide if they deserve a Father’s Day card or not.

First up is Rigoletto from Verdi’s Rigoletto. We see Rigoletto as a sympathetic father figure who loves his daughter Gilda and wants to keep her safe by hiding her from the world. As the story progresses, the world finds Gilda in ways Rigoletto never imagined. In his desire for vengeance, Rigoletto destroys his daughter. Helicopter parents beware, life will find your child.

No card for Rigoletto.

Video:

Aida – Nile Scene. Aida & Amonasro's duet

Leontyne Price & Simon Estes

Leontyne Price & Simon Estes

Amanasro is the father of Aida in Verdi’s Aida. Amanasro uses Aida to gain military intelligence about his Egyptian enemies. Aida is discovered and her lover Radames is convicted as well. They are buried alive and suffocate. Amanasro sacrifices his family for his ambitions.

No card for Amanasro.

Video:

Verdi's Don Carlo

"Ella giammai m'amò" (Ferruccio Furlanetto)

"Ella giammai m'amò" (Ferruccio Furlanetto)

So far we have two fathers destroying two daughters. How about a father destroying a son?

King Philip II from Verdi’s Don Carlo is the father of Don Carlo. Don Carlo loves Elizabeth and is betrothed to marry her. For political reasons, Philip himself ends up wedding Elizabeth. Don Carlo is devastated but continues to pledge his love for Elizabeth. Philip finds out about it and has Don Carlo sentenced to death. In a desperate fight at the end of the opera, the ghost of Don Carlo’s grandfather shows up and pulls him into the grave.

No card for Philip.

Video:

La Traviata 2007 Los Angeles

Renato Bruson in "Di Provenza il mar"

Renato Bruson in "Di Provenza il mar"

Are there any good fathers in opera?

Germont from Verdi’s La Traviata is a father who is trying to protect his son Alfredo from throwing his life away with a courtesan. He advises Alfredo to leave Violetta and go get some sun and relaxation in Provence with the aria “Di Provenza”. Germont is usually considered to be a sympathetic character who is on the correct side of the story.

Card for Germont.

Video:

Don Giovanni

"Don Giovanni, a cenar teco"

"Don Giovanni, a cenar teco"

In the opening scene of Don Giovanni, the Commendatore tries to rescue his daughter from being raped by Giovanni. They two men cross swords and the younger Giovanni kills the elderly Commendatore. At the conclusion of the opera, the Commendatore returns as the Stone Guest and escorts Giovanni to hell.

Card for the Commendatore.

Video:

Wagner - Die Walkure

Wotan's farewell (Leb wohl) Boulez, Bayreuth

Wotan's farewell (Leb wohl) Boulez, Bayreuth

What about Wotan, “The All-Father” from Wagner’s Ring Cycle?

Between the first and second operas of the Ring Cycle, Wotan fathers eight Valkyries and a set of fraternal twins. The twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, end up falling in love with each other and have an incestuous relationship.

In the second act, Wotan destroys Siegmund’s sword which allows him to be slain. In the third act, Wotan punishes his favorite Valkyrie Brünnhilde for having helped Siegmund. In this act we see Wotan transition from a tyrannical father to a benevolent one, relatively speaking. When it’s all over, we see that Wotan consistently betrays love in favor of power.

No card for Wotan.

Video:

Gianni Schicchi (1918) by Giacomo Puccini.

"O Mio Babbino Caro" ("Oh My Beloved Father") – Kiri Te Kanawa

"O Mio Babbino Caro" ("Oh My Beloved Father") – Kiri Te Kanawa

Gianni Schicchi, from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, is condemned to the lowest level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. In this retelling of the story, Schicchi is portrayed as a father who betrayed the trust of his clients in order to protect and provide for his family, specifically his daughter Lauretta who sings the famous aria “O mio babbino caro”, “O my dear papa.”

Card for Schicchi.

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Gianni Schicchi, a father who betrayed the trust of his clients in order to provide for his family.
Gianni Schicchi, a father who betrayed the trust of his clients in order to provide for his family.
Video:

From Verdi's Rigoletto

Ettore Bastianini - Povero Rigoletto.

Ettore Bastianini - Povero Rigoletto.

Since Father’s Day is coming up, let’s look at some operatic fathers and decide if they deserve a Father’s Day card or not.

First up is Rigoletto from Verdi’s Rigoletto. We see Rigoletto as a sympathetic father figure who loves his daughter Gilda and wants to keep her safe by hiding her from the world. As the story progresses, the world finds Gilda in ways Rigoletto never imagined. In his desire for vengeance, Rigoletto destroys his daughter. Helicopter parents beware, life will find your child.

No card for Rigoletto.

Video:

Aida – Nile Scene. Aida & Amonasro's duet

Leontyne Price & Simon Estes

Leontyne Price & Simon Estes

Amanasro is the father of Aida in Verdi’s Aida. Amanasro uses Aida to gain military intelligence about his Egyptian enemies. Aida is discovered and her lover Radames is convicted as well. They are buried alive and suffocate. Amanasro sacrifices his family for his ambitions.

No card for Amanasro.

Video:

Verdi's Don Carlo

"Ella giammai m'amò" (Ferruccio Furlanetto)

"Ella giammai m'amò" (Ferruccio Furlanetto)

So far we have two fathers destroying two daughters. How about a father destroying a son?

King Philip II from Verdi’s Don Carlo is the father of Don Carlo. Don Carlo loves Elizabeth and is betrothed to marry her. For political reasons, Philip himself ends up wedding Elizabeth. Don Carlo is devastated but continues to pledge his love for Elizabeth. Philip finds out about it and has Don Carlo sentenced to death. In a desperate fight at the end of the opera, the ghost of Don Carlo’s grandfather shows up and pulls him into the grave.

No card for Philip.

Video:

La Traviata 2007 Los Angeles

Renato Bruson in "Di Provenza il mar"

Renato Bruson in "Di Provenza il mar"

Are there any good fathers in opera?

Germont from Verdi’s La Traviata is a father who is trying to protect his son Alfredo from throwing his life away with a courtesan. He advises Alfredo to leave Violetta and go get some sun and relaxation in Provence with the aria “Di Provenza”. Germont is usually considered to be a sympathetic character who is on the correct side of the story.

Card for Germont.

Video:

Don Giovanni

"Don Giovanni, a cenar teco"

"Don Giovanni, a cenar teco"

In the opening scene of Don Giovanni, the Commendatore tries to rescue his daughter from being raped by Giovanni. They two men cross swords and the younger Giovanni kills the elderly Commendatore. At the conclusion of the opera, the Commendatore returns as the Stone Guest and escorts Giovanni to hell.

Card for the Commendatore.

Video:

Wagner - Die Walkure

Wotan's farewell (Leb wohl) Boulez, Bayreuth

Wotan's farewell (Leb wohl) Boulez, Bayreuth

What about Wotan, “The All-Father” from Wagner’s Ring Cycle?

Between the first and second operas of the Ring Cycle, Wotan fathers eight Valkyries and a set of fraternal twins. The twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, end up falling in love with each other and have an incestuous relationship.

In the second act, Wotan destroys Siegmund’s sword which allows him to be slain. In the third act, Wotan punishes his favorite Valkyrie Brünnhilde for having helped Siegmund. In this act we see Wotan transition from a tyrannical father to a benevolent one, relatively speaking. When it’s all over, we see that Wotan consistently betrays love in favor of power.

No card for Wotan.

Video:

Gianni Schicchi (1918) by Giacomo Puccini.

"O Mio Babbino Caro" ("Oh My Beloved Father") – Kiri Te Kanawa

"O Mio Babbino Caro" ("Oh My Beloved Father") – Kiri Te Kanawa

Gianni Schicchi, from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, is condemned to the lowest level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. In this retelling of the story, Schicchi is portrayed as a father who betrayed the trust of his clients in order to protect and provide for his family, specifically his daughter Lauretta who sings the famous aria “O mio babbino caro”, “O my dear papa.”

Card for Schicchi.

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