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Thread: Creepy / Dark Opera

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    Default Creepy / Dark Opera

    Hello all, I’m very new to the world of opera, and I was hoping to get some recommendations for operas or arias that are particularly creepy, macabre, supernatural, melancholy, or generally dark in nature. Anything would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Turn of the Screw (1954) by Benjamin Britten, after the story by Henry James. It's not too long, either.

    Wiki article here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tu..._Screw_(opera)
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Well, Don Giovanni has the most terrifying supernatural intervention in the history of opera, when a man the Don murders at the beginning of the opera takes up Don Giovanni's mocking invite to dinner, and gives us a finale we can never forget.

    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    Interesting request. Puccini is my beat so I can start with him. His operas tend to be relatively varied in tone, so there are few that are any one tone all the way through. He tends to like to keep excitement high, so there's aren't really any that are quietly ominous. Still, a few you might find interesting:
    Il tabarro is relatively melancholy, although in a nervously excited sort of way. It gets darker as it goes on though, and the last 20 minutes is very dark and broody, with a rather horrific ending.

    Depending on what you mean by supernatural, you may find Suor Angelica interesting. It is set in a convent, but the peaceful air evaporates, and the centerpiece is a conversation about talking with the dead between two relatives who loathe each other. Still, the main character has a goodness that keeps the piece from becoming truly dark.

    Turandot is famously gruesome. That's probably your best bet. There's a great chorus to the moon in which they compare it to a severed head. So there you go. There is plenty of comic relief, but it is of a dark character.

    There's also a very early Puccini opera, Le villi about a man who gets hounded to death by spirits. But musically it doesn't have a very dark texture.

    As far as opera up through the 1920s goes, I would say I've found operas like Pelleas et Melisande, Der Fliegende Hollander, Parsifal, Salome, Elektra, and Orfeo ed Euridice that match the qualities you're looking for. Also, Die Tote Stadt is about a man who can't move on from the death of his wife, and it's quite dark at times. I'm sure others will have suggestions from later 20th century opera, which I'm not very familiar with. The plots seem to get much darker and creepier in that time period.

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    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    I forgot Bluebeard's Castle, probably the most obvious one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aegis View Post
    Hello all, I’m very new to the world of opera, and I was hoping to get some recommendations for operas or arias that are particularly creepy, macabre, supernatural, melancholy, or generally dark in nature. Anything would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
    Verdi's Macbeth involves the requisite witches, cold-blooded murder, madness

    Wagner's Flying Dutchman can be spooky

    Lucia di Lammermoor with the Mad Scene is pretty macabre

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    Nothing is more heart rending, devastating and stomach churning than Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmelites".
    For enjoyment of the devil and his decadent workings Boito's "Mefistofele" takes the cake (and cookies and ice cream)

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Paul Hindemith - Sancta Susanna



    Also
    Schoenberg's Erwartung
    Strauss - Salome
    Last edited by norman bates; Apr-20-2020 at 23:46.
    What time is the next swan?

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    and there's also the famous Wolf's glen scene

    What time is the next swan?

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    Senior Member Ekim the Insubordinate's Avatar
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    Norman Bates beat me to it. Der Freischutz jumped immediately to mind. After that, Richard Status had a couple with Elektra and Salome. Many are dark and tragic, but I'm guessing that isn't really what you mean.

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    Richard Status. Auto-correct?

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    I’ve always found this music creepy, perhaps because I associate it with creepy movie scenes.

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    From Verdi’s Otello. Here the scoring for double bass provides all the creepiness of a jealous man intent on murdering his (innocent):wife.

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    "The Fiery Angel " by Prokofiev is without a doubt the weirdest, creepiest and most disturbing opera ever written . It takes place in 16th century Germany during the Inquisition , and is a nightmarish story of obsession, madness , black magic , demonology and demonic possession where the crazed heroine, Renata, who is looking for the human personification of a fiery angel who appeared to her in childhood .
    Was it just an imaginary friend, or is the fiery angel a demon which is tormenting her ? It's not clear from the beginning .
    Herf riend is the wandering night Ruprecht . who is desperately in love with her even though she refuses to have a physical relationship with him.
    The opera ends when Renata has entered a convent in the hope of finding peace, is still tormented by demons, and the other nuns are also showing sings of demonic possession !
    An inquisitor is calle dint o perform an exorcism on Renata, but the whole thing goes horribly out of control and there is a scene of terrifying confusion and chaos . Finally, Renata is sentenced to be tortured and burned at the stake !
    Prokofiev's music is almost unbearably intense and dissonant . This opera is not for the faint of heart ! Get the DVD from the Kirov opera with Gergiev conducting and Galina Gorchakova as the tormented Renata ! But don't see it late at night or you may have nightmares !

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    This scene, from Verdi’s Macbeth has some pulsing dark music to begin the Apparitions scene in which Macbeth sees some ghosts from his past and future.

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