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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

MAJOR CHORDS | WebMD Diagnoses Our Favourite Opera Characters

By Michael Vincent on May 8, 2019

A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of La Bohème, 2019. (Photo: Michael Cooper)
A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of La Bohème, 2019. (Photo: Michael Cooper)

Opera characters express a myriad of medical symptoms during the unfolding of a juicy and sorted opera. We thought we’d input some of these symptoms and see what WebMD would come up with. The results (taken with a grain of salt) showed results, including possible ADHD, Cocaine abuse, Schizophrenia, Vitamin B12 deficiency and many others.

For a much more serious take on opera and illnesses, we recommend reading Opera: Desire, Disease, Death, by University of Toronto Faculty members Linda and Michael Hutcheon.

1: Puccini: La Boheme, Character: Mimi

  • Act III: Her pinched cheeks are flushed. – Symptom: Blushed cheeks
  • Act III: A terrible cough shakes her chest.  – Symptom: Chest congestion
  • Act IV: I am so cold!  – Symptom: Chills
  • Act IV: It’s just a little cough! I’m used to it.  – Symptom: Cough
  • Act IV: You were frightened and nervous! Then you lost your key.  – Symptom: Short-term memory loss

Mimi

2: Mozart: Don Giovanni, Character: Don Giovanni

  • Act I: Beware my anger, fly! Die he must! – Symptom: Aggression
  • Act I: Well, speak what would you tell me? Say it quickly.  – Symptom: Irritability
  • Act I: This very instant I will make you my wife.  – Symptom: Impulsiveness
  • Act II: Give up the women! Mad man, They’re my first necessity of life, More than the bread that feeds me, Or the air I am breathing.  – Symptom: Increased sexual libido
  • Act II: Who on me is to attend? Wine here!  – Symptom: Alcohol cravings

Don

3: Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro, Character: Figaro

  • Act I: I burn to hear the rest: Doubts and suspicions Freeze my blood.  – Symptom: Paranoia
  • Act II: I lost my nerve and jumped, Down in terror and wrenched a muscle in my foot!  –Symptom: Acute foot pain
  • Act IV: Am I awake or dreaming? – Symptom: Confusion
  • Act IV: Here I kneel at your feet, My heart full of fire. – Symptom: Heartburn

Figaro

4: Verdi: Aida, Character: Aida

  • Act I: I tremble! – Symptom: Trembling
  • Act I: Fatal love, terrible love, break my heart, make me die!  – Symptom: Suicidal thoughts
  • Act II: The gods were always against me. – Symptom: Paranoia
  • Act IV: (In a delirium) Do you see? Death’s radiant angel hastens toward us, and carries us to eternal joy upon his golden wings. – Symptom: Delirium

Aida

 

5: Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor, Character: Lucia

  • Act I: That fountain…ah…I never see it without shivering. – Symptom: Shivering
  • Act II: A mist is before my eyes! – Symptom: Vision problems
  • Act II: I freeze and burn. I feel faint. – Symptom: Light-headedness

Lucia

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
Follow me
Michael Vincent
Follow me

Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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