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Tear Jerker / Opera

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Even the great Caruso was permitted to cry Manly Tears once in a while.
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Of course, you don't have to attend the opera, unless it'll make you cry.


  • "Vesti la giubba", from Pagliacci, sung by Canio, a cuckolded tragic clown.
  • Cavalleria Rusticana: The Intermezzo Sinfonico. It was used very effectively in the Rurouni Kenshin anime, the opening credits to Raging Bull and the ending of The Godfather Part III.
  • La Traviata. At first, it looks as if it's just going to have a tragic ending, with the main character hoping to the last that her lover will return to her- in vain because she is dying of TB. They twist the knife by having the lover return (improbably), just in time for the character to die after a happy reunion scene.
  • Almost any Puccini opera's got somewhere in them where you want to cry. Most notably, the final scene from La Bohème, in which Mimi dies, was enough to make Puccini himself cry his eyes out like a father whose child had just died.
    • Not that Gianni Schicchi doesn't have any Tear Jerkers, as shown with "O Mio Babbino Caro".
    • Another of Puccini's operas, Tosca, has the incredibly emotional finale, beginning with E Lucevan Le Stelle, Cavaradossi's final goodbye to his love as he is about to be executed, all the way through to Tosca's final piece when she realises that Scarpia had tricked her and Cavaradossi has actually been executed. The way she says his name and calls for him to hurry before the soldiers return, and when she figures out he's dead, are heartbreaking.
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    • Madame Butterfly. When she starts singing "Un Bel Di Vedremo", then in the ending where she commits seppuku, there's not a dry eye in the house.
  • Otello: You can expect this, since it's based off Shakespeare's original tragedy, of course. But Act IV is filled with this. First, there's Desdemona's haunting Willow Song and beautiful "Ave Maria", and also Otello's "Niun mi tema", right after he realizes the truth and that Desdemona was innocent, is downright painful to listen to. And of course, his suicide and the moments where he sings his last lines before dying is also quite heartwrenching.
  • Orfeo ed Euridice: The aria "Che farò senza Euridice?" Orpheus has gone to Hades to retrieve his wife Eurydice, who has just died, only to lose her again when he looks back at her. A bad singer might turn it into Narm, but a good one will break your heart.
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  • Boris Godunov: The King on His Deathbed scene. The czar, Boris Godunov, is dying, and before he dies, he wants to impart some advice to his son.
  • Der Rosenkavalier: The final trio. It was performed at the funeral of its composer, Richard Strauss, and the sopranos couldn't make it through without stopping to cry.
  • Dido and Aeneas: "When I Am Laid in Earth" is quite a downer. While singing before committing suicide is common in opera, Dido's swan song is much more melancholy than any Wagnerian heroine's... and, unlike most other operas, it's sung in English.
  • Rigoletto: Rigoletto is already treated poorly by everyone around him, doubly so for his disabilities, and then, in the end, he loses his daughter Gilda, the one person who truly mattered to him; who he loved and who loved him in return. The ending is absolutely heartbreaking because of this.
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