This post has been hijacked. I planned to talk about mad scenes and the 19th century belief that women were hysterical, unreasoning creatures. Lucia di Lammermoor has her famous mad scene. Elvira in “I Puritani” has hers. My latest example was Ophelia’s mad scene in “Hamlet,” the opera. We don’t see mad scenes in romances anymore because—well, because they all must have happily ever after endings today. It would have been interesting to talk about the “dark night of the soul” moment that romance heroines experience today instead of mad scenes. But that post was not to be, because something else happened as I watched “Hamlet.”
“Hamlet” is not what I’d call a romance, nor is it a story I seek out deliberately. It’s most famous as Shakespeare’s superlative revenge tragedy. Imagine my surprise, then, when I fell in love. Oh, not with the story. It’s still a miserable tale of adultery, murder, suicide, and more murder, although the majority of the deaths in the Shakespeare play do not happen in the opera. Polonius gets to live, for instance. No, I am newly in love with Simon Keenlyside, the baritone who plays Hamlet. Of course his singing was top quality, but he did such a terrific acting job and looked so good doing it that I wondered why Hollywood has not come calling. Or does Hollywood not bother anymore? Can sing, can act, looks great, plus has a cool British accent and an intensity that is perfect for film. During the intermission interview, as he was nonchalantly wiping huge amounts of fake blood off his face, he impressed me with his intelligent approach to the role. This is a serious artist at work. But I’m not the only one who noticed that this guy is hot. There’s a site called Barihunks that proclaims its interest in “The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera,” and lists Keenlyside as a top contender. I agree.
Which got me thinking about Jonas Kaufmann. This opera hunk has been hanging out in Europe throughout his career, but next year is finally coming to this country. I got a sneak peak at him by going to a movie theater that showed “Carmen” live from La Scala via satellite. (The very same technology that brought Miley Cyrus live to multiple movie theaters.) Jonas Kaufmann is the warm and fuzzy, sympathetic lover type. Carmen, the spirited gypsy, makes mincemeat of him as Don Jose (until the final act, of course, when he kills her). Kaufmann has been acclaimed for his interpretation of the doomed Don Carlo and I’m excited that it will be another HD simulcast next season at the Met. But I’m also excited because he is hot.
John Relyea caught my eye when he played Mephistopheles in “The Damnation of Faust,” an otherwise boring piece that’s more about the chorus than it is about acting. Leather pants make the man.
Erwin Schrott, diva Anna Netrebko’s main squeeze, is yet another operatic stud who’ll willingly show his pecs in the cause of drama and great singing. He looks so sensitive and sincere in this pic, but that’s because he’s playing that famous seducer, Don Giovanni. Don Juan, to those of you who’ve never been inside an opera house. He looks considerably more threatening at other moments, but you won’t see them unless you see the show.
There are some amazingly good-looking men currently singing operas. Maybe you should check out an opera house, or a movie theater that does opera simulcasts or satellite broadcasts, and enjoy all this male beauty.