The Curse of Operatic Immorality (or, how to rewrite an ending)

Many operas involve huge amounts of inappropriate material, legitimising reprehensible acts. We need to call for the immediate rewriting of many operatic plots, to remove these disgusting elements and allow our opera houses to be edifying places, appropriate for the musical education of our children. Below are a few suggestions for the modification of various operas.

Otello:

Desdemona leaves. She returns to Venetian society but is so ostracised that she ends up joining a convent. Emilia tells Otello about Iago’s deception, and he has a breakdown and is only just prevented from killing himself. He starts therapy, and learns to manage his jealousy. Otello and Iago refuse to fight (because violence is bad) and we segue into a Merchant of Venice style courtroom.

La Traviata:

Germont père becomes the hero. He prevents his son from falling into social disgrace. Violetta dies alone and ignobly, the proper reward for her lifestyle.

Peter Grimes:

Ellen refuses to let Peter continue in his ways after she discovers the John’s bruises. She firmly tells Peter they must marry at once. He is gentled by her presence, and the Borough gives in to the sweetness of their partnership, and accept them. They adopt a platoon of workhouse children, and all homoerotic subtext is repressed. The piece is renamed ‘A Woman’s Touch’.

Il Trovatore:

Azucena tells everybody everything. Di Luna and Manrico are reconciled, and di Luna stops pursuing Leonora out of respect for her. The rebels find out the Manrico is actually nobility and decide that therefore they should stop fighting. A professional negotiator is hired to sort out the political difficulties.

Dido and Aeneas:

Deus ex machina! Literally. The real Mercury turns up and tells Aeneas it was all a trick. He and Dido marry happily and live peacefully in Carthage. (Meanwhile in Italy, Turnus marries Lavinia and everyone is happy.)

Tosca:

Scarpia rapes the helpless Tosca, who then attempts to prosecute him, but sets Cavaradossi free. The police decide that she lead him on, and since she had a long-standing premarital affair, she can’t actually have not wanted this. Tosca and Cavaradossi separate under the pressure, and she leaves the city.

Carmen:

Michaela persuades Don Jose to get some counselling. He learns to manage his anger better, and retires to the countryside to care for his aging mother. Carmen inevitably leaves Enrico, and shortly afterwards dies of syphilis as a comeuppance for her dreadful way of life.

 

Please feel free to suggest your own alternatives. Together, we can work to eradicate violence and immorality from our stage.

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Rigoletto:
    Gilda comes out of the Duke’s room laughing and goes “it was all a prank! Nothing happened!” Rigoletto pretends to believe her and they go home happy.
    Later she secretly gets an abortion and then ffalls for, and marries an actual poor student. Rigoletto quits the Duke’s court and gets a job as a standup comedian. The Duke dies of syphilis.

    Like

  2. 1)Captain Vere says……’Oh what the hell, no-one liked Claggart anyway, let’s just chuck hin overboard and pretend it never happened.
    2) Verdi scholar Roger Parker proposed an alternative ending to DON CARLOS, which is that it is really Posa and Elisabeth who have been secretly in love all along, and they run away together to Brussels.

    Like

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