Much to highlight my esteem for the genre, I must stress that opera indubitably achieves the apex of aural beauty. However, discussion of its influence on society I must bring to the table with haste. While it is an excellent form of entertainment, indeed better than film and sport, it has somehow circumvented the established systems of alerting consumers of its content. In film and television, for example, there are ways to rate the content for the purpose of informing others. Why, then, must not opera abide by these same standards?
I propose, therefore, that a rating system be established for the production of opera, and that children under a certain age not be allowed to see opera of a bawdy or violent nature. Perhaps some examples of such gruesome or otherwise inappropriate operatic behavior would be most elucidating:
- Verdi, Il Trovatore: infant immolation
- Puccini, Turandot and Tosca: public execution, and for most capricious or unjust of reasons
- Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk: rape, and lewdness in general
- Gounoud, Faust: imagery of and cooperation with devil, fornication, and abandonment of impregnated partner
- Wagner, Tristan und Isolde: attempted murder (twice!), drug/potion use, hunting
- Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro: general air of stupidity, foolish whimsy, forgery
- Mozart, The Abduction from the Seraglio: abduction
- Britten, Peter Grimes: questionable relations with youngsters, environmental problems (over-fishing), needless banter
These are just a few examples of the many.
"Some say it is Napoleon, some Hitler, some Mussolini. For me it is simply Allegro con brio." – Toscanini, speaking of the Eroica