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Villain Song: Opera

  • When Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito wrote an opera over Shakespeare's Othello they added the aria "Credo in un Dio crudel" ("I believe in a cruel God"), a sublime villain song, where the villain Iago, in a parody of a Christian creed, confesses to do evil because the world is pointless and everything is ruled by Fate
    And after all this mockery comes death.
    And then? And then?
    Death and Nothingness
    Heaven is an old wives tale Ahahahahahahaha!
  • Also Verdi: "La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto is the Duke's villain song and apparently he sings it a lot. A lot of the commercials that use it to sell their products seem to forget it's a villain song.
    • Whose whole point is that women are always fickle and cruel.
      • Actually, it is that women always want him, but often not when he wants them. The song is his justification for raping every woman who catches his fancy, but refuses his advances. As the Duke is the judge of his own court, there is nothing that can be done about his amusements, hence the reason for Rigoletto to plot against the Duke — Rigoletto's daughter has grown into a beautiful woman.
  • Act One of Puccini's opera Tosca ends with the corrupt police chief Scarpia gloating, because he has gained a hold on the title character that will force her to succumb to his perverted desires. And if that was not creepy enough, there is a simultaneous Te Deum to provide Ominous Latin Chanting. In Act II, Scarpia gets another solo in which he professes his lustful urges to Tosca, Gia mi dicon venal.
  • Le Veau d'Or from Gounod's Faust, sung by Mephistopheles himself. Mephistopholes also gets the mocking serenade, Vous qui faites l'endormie.
  • Faust operas are great for this kind of thing. Mefistofele, in Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele, has some awesome ones. "I am the spirit that denies all things..." Creepy.
  • The villain Caspar in Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz gets two of these: the first, "Hier im ird'schem Jammerthal", a drinking song about the pleasures of wining, wenching, and gambling, and the second, "Schweig', damit dich niemand warnt", calling upon the spirits of evil to take the hero instead of him, now that his deal with the devil is coming to its end. (In addition, there is an entire scene devoted to summoning up the devil in order to cast the magic bullets that give the opera its name.)
  • The Secret Police Agent in Menotti's "The Consul" has a pretty terrifying aria in the first act, where he attempts to intimidate the protagonist, Magda Sorell.
  • Claggart's song "O beauty, O handsomeness, goodness!" in Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd. Unlike a classic Villain Song in that he is anything BUT happy about his situation... still. You've gotta love a song with lyrics like "There I established an order such as reigns in Hell", and "With hate and envy I am stronger than love", and "I, John Claggart, Master-at-Arms upon the Indomitable, have you in my power, and I will destroy you, I will destroy you."
  • The pagan sorceress Ortrud in Richard Wagner's Lohengrin has a short aria, "Entweihte Götter", in which she calls upon the gods to help her deceive and avenge herself upon her Christian enemies.
  • In Amilcaire Ponchielli's opera La Gioconda, the villainous Alvise Bodero plots to murder his unfaithful wife via poison and put her corpse on display during a ball to show his guests what happens to those who betray him: Si, morir ella de!.
  • Lord Ruthven's aria "Ha! Welche Lust!" ("Ha! What Pleasure!") from Marschner's Der Vampyr is all about the joys of sucking the blood of innocent, terrified maidens.
  • The Queen of the Night's ear-splittingly infamous aria Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen. She forces her daughter Pamina to assassinate Sarastro upon pain of disowning and cursing her. Damn, that's cold.
  • Susannah has Olin Blitch with a villain sermon.
  • Ha! welch' ein Augenblick! from Beethoven's Fidelio (in which the evil prison governor Pizarro rejoices in the fact that the forthcoming "surprise" inspection by the Minister of Justice will require him (Pizarro) to do what he could have done at any time he wanted, ie. kill his unlawfully imprisoned rival Florestan).


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