Looking for a good laugh? Check out our funny opera music picks – from The Barber of Seville to The Marriage of Figaro, there’s something for everyone!
The Barber of Seville
One of the most popular operas of all time, The Barber of Seville is also one of the funniest. First performed in 1816, the opera tells the story of a young nobleman named Count Almaviva who falls in love with the beautiful Rosina. Alas, she is already being courted by the lecherous Dr. Bartolo, who plans to marry her himself.
Enter Figaro, the Barber of Seville. A wily fellow, Figaro comes up with a hilarious scheme to help Almaviva win Rosina’s hand. But will Bartolo’s villainy prevail? Or will true love find a way?
Filled with catchy tunes and comical characters, The Barber of Seville is an opera that is sure to make you laugh out loud.
One of the most popular and best-loved operas of all time, La Bohème is full of wonderful music that is both beautiful and funny. The story is set in Paris in the early 1800s, and revolves around the young artist Rodolfo and his love for the poor seamstress Mimi. The opera is full of charming characters, including Marcello, a painter; Musetta, a flirtatious woman; Colline, a philosopher; and Schaunard, a musician.
The music in La Bohème is both beautiful and humorous, with some of the most famous operatic arias ever written. Highlights include “Che gelida manina” (Rodolfo’s aria about Mimi’s cold hand), “Quando men vo” (Musetta’s waltz), “O soave fanciulla” (a duet between Rodolfo and Mimi), and “Si mi chiamano Mimi” (Mimi’s aria).
If you’re looking for funny opera music that will make you laugh out loud, La Bohème is a great choice.
One of the most popular operas of all time, Don Giovanni is also one of the funniest. The story of a womanizing nobleman who is ultimately brought down by his own arrogance and bad choices, the opera is full of witty banter, slapstick humor, and even a little bit of sex. And while the opera does have a few dark moments, they are more than offset by the lighthearted fun of the rest of the piece.
Carmen is an opera by French composer Georges Bizet. The story is set in Spain and revolves around the tragic love affair between the title character and a soldier named Don Jose.
While the opera is not overtly comedic, there are some lighthearted moments, including a scene in which Carmen and her friends sing about the joys of being gypsies. There are also several comical characters, such as the self-important sergeant Major Arnulfo.
If you’re looking for something to make you laugh, Carmen is a good choice. Just be warned that it does have a tragic ending.
The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro is an opera buffa (comic opera) in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1 May 1786. The work is a sequel to The Barber of Seville and follows the story of Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess Rosina as they continue to outwit the Count Almaviva.
While The Barber of Seville was based on a work by Pierre Beaumarchais that was itself a sequel to an earlier play, The Marriage of Figaro is actually the third in da Ponte’s series of plays based on Beaumarchais’ works. In the plays, Figaro isservant to Almaviva, who is also trying to court Susanna, who is maid to Almaviva’s wife Rosina.
Interestingly, Mozart actually wrote The Marriage of Figaro faster than he wrote The Barber of Seville,despite the fact that it is a much longer work.
La traviata is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La dame aux camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils. The title “La traviata” means “The Fallen Woman”, or “She Who Has Strayed”.
In May 1853, Verdi wrote to Piave, asking him to examine the play by Dumas fils; “It has graceful aspects which may make it suitable for music.” In November 1853, Piave reported back to his master: “I believe that I have found the solution of the problem…Do you not think that La Dame aux camélias would be better called Violetta?”
The opera’s original title referred to heroine Violetta Valéry, a courtesan in nineteenth-century Paris who sells her body and love for money. At the end of the first act, she is seen surrounded by admirers in the Palais Royal Garden, suddenly overcome by a coughing fit. Despite her illness, she agrees to leave Paris with her lover Alfredo Germont for his country home in Provence. However, once they are away from the city and its social mores she finds she cannot quell her yearning for the excitement of Paris and returns there against Alfredo’s wishes.
Alfredo’s father Giorgio Germont then arrives in Paris and persuades Violetta to give up Alfredo for the sake of his young daughter’s reputation since Violetta’s reputation as a courtesan will scandalize polite society. Violetta agrees and leaves Alfredo on the deathly ill. She dies soon after of tuberculosis.
Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900. The work, based on Victorien Sardou’s 1887 French-language dramatic play, La Tosca, is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June 1800, with the Kingdom of Naples’s control of Rome threatended by Napoleon’s invasion of Italy.
The piece contains some of Puccini’s best-known lyrical moments including “Vissi d’arte”, “E lucevan le stelle” and “Mario! Mario! Mario!”. Moreover, since its premiere Tosca has been one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.
Puccini was intrigued by Sardou’s play because it dealt with a contemporary subject – political assassination in a time of war – which no other major composer had touched on since Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell in 1829. The first draft of the libretto was completed between May and July 1899, and Puccini revised it over the following months. In September 1899, he sent his revised version for examination to Giulio Ricordi who entirely rewrote it without consulting either him or Illica/Giacosa. This angered both men so much that they secretly decided not to have anything more to do with Ricordi and his publishing company (which until then had published all their works). It also caused them considerable financial strain as they could no longer approach other publishers for payments for their past works or advances for future projects.
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The story is set in a fantasy world of good and evil, and revolves around the characters of Prince Tamino, Princess Pamina, Sarastro, and the evil Queen of the Night. The music is full of humor and wit, making it a perfect choice for when you need a good laugh.
Keyword: Funny Opera Music: What to Listen to When You Need a Good Laugh