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by Archaeology Newsroom

Suicides in Opera

Opera, or “melodrama” in its original term, is an art form more extensive than life. Hyperbole is its second nature and in its plots human passions and emotions are exaggerated and stretched to such extremes that are seldom encountered in real life. Dramatic deaths, usually suicides and murders, constitute the bread and butter of opera and the part and parcel of its appeal. This article examines some of the most dramatic suicides in the famous operas of Verdi, Puccini and of representative composers of the “belcanto” and the “verismo” schools; it also analyses the obvious motives and latent circumstances that led to suicide; finally, it compares these suicides with those committed by the heroes and heroines of the German repertoire and especially Wagner.