OK, the folks who produce the TV show Glee had fun with their little Madonna episode. And their Lady Gaga episode. And, last week, their nitrous oxide-powered Britney Spears episode.
So where, I ask, is the Glee opera episode?
The high muckety-mucks at FOX haven't yet asked me to program such a "Glee Goes Opera" episode, but when they do … I've got the basics all sketched out.
Below, I've chosen five of Glee's main characters and I've matched them, more or less, to operatic characters they just might be comfortable singing. (Note To Producers: Turn the Auto-Tune processor up a notch or two.) Please make sure to tell us your own ideas for Glee - opera matchups in the comments section.
Rachel …… Rosina (from Rossini's Barber of Seville)
Let's start with Rachel (because she'd be crushed if we didn't). Rachel Berry is a self-centered, conniving manipulator. She guards her status within the glee club with the stealth of a Praying Mantis. She could make a very good Rosina — also a schemer —in Rossini's opera. In the aria "Una voce poco fa" Rachel would feel right at home singing Rosina's lines, "But if they touch me, on my weak spot, I'll be a viper, and a hundred tricks I'll play before I'll yield."
Rossini: 'Una voce poco fa' (Victoria de los Angeles)
Purchase: Archive Music
Will Shuster…… Hans Sachs (from Wagner's Die Meistersinger)
Mr. Shuster, head of the glee club called New Directions, actually has quite a bit in common with Hans Sachs, in Wagner's opera, which, after all, centers on a singing contest. Forget that it's set in 16th century Germany and Sachs is a baritone. Still, Sachs, like Shuster, knows what ingredients make up a good song, and coaches his singers wisely. In this aria, he bemoans the all the craziness in the world, as if he'd just had a particularly piquant run-in with Sue Sylvester.
Wagner: 'Wahn, wahn!' (Bernd Weikl)
Kurt……. Leonore (from Beethoven's Fidelio)
Hey, it's crystal clear. Kurt is the kind of guy who would bravely (OK, brazenly) cross-dress in order to get his man. And, as it turns out, that's exactly what the character Leonore does in Beethoven's opera. She dresses like a dude to infiltrate a prison in hopes of freeing her renegade husband. Chains, dungeons, hot guards. We're there for you, Kurt.
Beethoven: Leonore's aria (Christa Ludwig)
Mercedes….. (Gioconda in Ponchielli's La Gioconda)
Mercedes Jones is nice and sweet and loyal — not to mention, the best singer on the show. Yet, like Gioconda in her own self-titled opera, Mercedes gets far too little screen time. La Gioconda means the Joyful Girl, and both Mercedes and Gioconda do a good job of masking their struggles behind their pretty smiles. In this aria, Gioconda worries about the fact that she just may have saved the life of her rival. Girl, get your priorities straight.
Ponchielli: 'O madre mia' (Violeta Urmana)
Finn…… Siegfried (in Wagner's Ring Cycle)
Let's face it. Finn is a heroic figure, but he's not the brightest bulb in the room. Like Wagner's hero Siegfried, he allows himself to be tricked and manipulated, even falling in love with the wrong girls. Also, like Siegfried, Finn is a jock, confident in his body, but not always in his head. In this little ditty, from the opera Siegfried, the title character pounds on an anvil, forging a shiny new sword from scraps of magic metal.
Wagner: Forging Song (Siegfried Jerusalem)
Purchase: Archive Music
Related links: Songs We Wish Were On ‘Glee’