Opera As Eugenics

I am no great expert on opera, so perhaps I should content myself with commending the subject to my betters for examination. But it does occur to me that opera takes to an extreme the narratives to be found elsewhere in our culture, namely the excellence of the reproductively fit and the utter worthlessness of everyone else. Wagner’s biggest villain is surely Klingsor, who could neither gratify nor suppress his sexual desires and was therefore consumed by malice. Opera has even given us a word for only marginally useful males – “spear-carrier”.

We might say that opera is female propaganda in which biological virtue (being a superior male specimen) is rewarded and offenders against the female agenda are punished (Don Giovanni carried down to hell). I leave it to more educated persons than myself to chart this throughout the art.

In the Commedia, the job of Pantelone is to wickedly keep his daughter and her chosen admirer apart. That he himself tries it on with wives only to get rejected shows us what happens to someone who thus defies the rule of Nature, and, more widely, how it goes with someone who fails to die young and leave a rich and Merry Widow, as males are supposed to do.

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 10:15 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: CULTURAL ODDS AND ENDS, Hark, I Hear The Canon Roar!

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