It’s no secret I’m not very passionate about sports. I am however disproportionately passionate about the Olympics. I eagerly anticipate the international sporting event every few years, and this year’s Olympiad had me wondering how certain opera characters would fare at the Games. Here is my incredibly non-definitive list of how some of them might finish.
Guillaume Tell (Guillaume Tell) - Switzerland - Gold
I mean, the guy shoots an apple off of his own son’s head, and is able to fell his enemies with a single arrow.
Jemmy Tell (Guillaume Tell) - Silver
Keeping it in the family, we have Guillaume’s youngest son, Jemmy, who from the outset of the opera is already living up to his father’s name.
Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) - Italy - Bronze
Aeneas is clearly a fan of hunting and archery and even goes on a rustic outdoor date with Dido. In mythology, he’s also a huge fan of archery contests, so his pure enthusiasm get him a bronze medal.
Gymnastics Floor Routine:
Salome (Salome) - Judea - Gold
Her artistry and routine are so convincing that she is able to persuade her step-father to kill a man for her. Creepy? Absolutely. Power move? Also yes.
Pamina and Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) - Who even knows - Silver
Where are these two even from? While their movements aren’t as energetic as Salome’s, the elements of fire and water to their routine really bring a new dynamic to the sport! Their stoic and self-assured performance earns them an easy silver.
The Flying Dutchman - Netherlands - Gold
Look, this guy has been at it for centuries. Heading a crew at sea is serious business, and the stamina required to do so for eternity is truly laudable. For only getting to rest every seven years, the Flying Dutchman earns an easy gold.
Guillaume Tell (again) - Switzerland - Silver
Perhaps Guillaume should consider training for the pentathlon because he truly has range! Not only is he an expert archer, but apparently a skilled sailor as well. I suppose that’s what having Alpine lakes as a training ground can do.
Enzo (La Gioconda) - Italy - Bronze
Enzo comes up short in the gondola regatta at the beginning of the opera, but makes a speedy escape via boat at the end. As a matter of fact, there are so many people that are rowing around Venice in this opera, that maybe the entire cast of characters deserves this medal.
The Pirates of Penzance - England - Disqualified
While they are able to maintain their ship, these noblemen who have lost their way have resorted to a life of crime and truthfully, they aren’t even really very good at it. For sheer incompetence, they have been disqualified.
Kilian (Der Freischütz) - Germany - Gold
Kilian wins the shooting contest at the beginning of the opera and is the only one to win a contest by honest means. Kudos to you for not dealing with dark magical forces and magical bullets!
Max and Kaspar (Der Freischütz) - Disqualified
These two are a complete disaster. They try to use magic bullets, graze innocent bystanders and objects with said magic bullets, and one of them ends up being dragged to Hell. Despite Max’s good and Kaspar’s not-so-good intentions, they have both been disqualified.
Siegfried (Siegfried) - Norway - Gold
He doesn’t know fear, is able to shred metal, recast a mythical sword, and kill Fafner, the dragon. What else can you ask for in a gold medalist? He might also be earning gold because I’m afraid of what would happen if he didn’t.
Don Giovanni - Spain - Silver
Don Giovanni is undoubtedly a skilled swordsman. While he is able to undo the Commendatore, I have to wonder how much of a competition the Commendatore actually offered. Still, the Don hits his mark, and is awarded silver.
Tybalt and Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) - Italy - Bronze Tie
These two hot-heads are always going at it. They bring a lot of energy to the sport, and offer an exciting spectacle. However, their tempers leave them susceptible to mistakes - mistakes like a certain Romeo Montague.
The Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) - Nighttime - Disqualified
You would think someone who is royalty would have the chutzpah to dedicate themselves to a little bit of training. However, the Queen has better things to do apparently and tries to get her daughter to compete on her behalf. A clear breach of protocol results in her disqualification.
Did I miss any? What events would you like to see your favorite opera characters compete in? Perhaps Leporello in the 100m dash? La Sonnambula on the balance beam? Let us know in the comments!
- Preston Hereford