The Phantoms of the Opera

“The Phantom of the Opera” is a well-known novel written by French writer Gaston Leroux and has been made into an opera, stage and movie spin off.  But Classical Opera itself has always had a fascination for ghosts; from Mozart to Corigliano, ghosts have shown up in classical operas as well.  

Mozart: Don Giovanni. The Commendatore, killed by Don Giovanni in the first act, returns as a ghost made of marble near the end of the opera to dispensing some spine-chilling justice. When the ghost appears at Giovanni’s dinner party, chords thunder (created by rarely used trombones) the Commendatore drags Don Giovanni down into hell.

Verdi: Macbeth. Whether it’s an English playwright in an Italian composer, whenever someone creates a  murder, it comes back to haunt them.  After his wife convinces him to kill King Duncan and several other victims.

When he throws an elaborate party in Act Two, Macbeth sees the ghost of newly murdered Banquo who crashed the party sitting and is sitting at the banquet table.

Tchaikovsky: Queen of Spades. Herman is the central character in, Tchaikovsky’s Pushkin-based drama. Herman’s obsessed with a mysterious gambling secret known only by his girlfriend’s grandmother. Sneaking into the Countess’ bedroom, Herman violently demands the secret but  she dies in fright. Her ghost appears later in Herman’s room, where she finally reveals the magic combination of cards. She materializes again later at the opera’s closing moment when all is lost for Herman, including his life.

These are just a sample of “Classical Ghost Stories” found in Opera.

Who said is Opera is boring? Some would put Stephen King’s works look like Mother Goose rhymes.

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