Since its genesis, opera has been an art form filled with political satire, commentary and spoof. From Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro to Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, composers of opera throughout history have loved to address societal issues through song.
In 2017, finding operatic satire is easier than ever in one powerful medium: Youtube. Here, we present a list of some of the greatest operatic Youtube spoofs of all-time.
Connection Lost (The Tinder Opera) – Featuring original music by Scott Joiner, Connection Lost laments the challenges of dating in the digital age with music evocative of American contemporary opera composers Jake Heggie, John Musto and even George Gershwin. Exceptionally well-produced, this Youtube spoof is perfect for lost, lonely and millennial daters.
Anna Russell: The (First) Farewell Concert (1984) — Comedienne Anna Russell’s summary and analysis of Wagner’s Ring Cycle is the stuff of operatic comedy legend. Anyone who’s sat through or studied Wagner’s epic, sublime and ridiculous cycle will enjoy this Youtube comedy gold.
Opera vs Trump — Unlike Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, this hilarious Youtube political commentary makes no effort to mask its qualms with the current American administration. Filled with hilarious and perfect Rossini-buffo performances, this spoof nails it. Impeachera!
Opera Cheats: L’elisir d’amore — LV would be remiss not to mention Indie Opera T.O. company Opera Five’s ingenious Opera Cheats series. On your way to the opera and need a synopsis? These videos poke fun at the ridiculous plots of operas while effectively summarizing and contemporizing the stories we opera-goers have often struggled to follow. In honour of the COC’s L’elisir d’amore, check out this one:
Victor Borge — A Mini-Opera — If Anna Russell is the queen of opera comedy, Victor Borge is king. Impossible not to love, Borge’s genius piano-vocal interpretations of opera are Monty Python-esque. Make sure you watch his perfectly invented Mozartean overtures and tenor and soprano parts, played exquisitely on the piano. As Borge puts it, “the curtain falls, but not hard enough.”
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