Counting Down Opera's Greatest Love Stories | Welsh National Opera

Counting Down Opera's Greatest Love Stories

8 February 2017

The season of love is upon us, and since opera holds the key to some of the most poignant and wonderful love stories of our time, we thought we’d countdown our top seven opera love stories in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day to celebrate this great art form and the warm place it holds in our hearts. 

7. The Marriage of Figaro Mozart

At number seven we have a firm favourite, Mozart’s comedic opera tells the story of how the servants Figaro and Susanna succeed in getting married, foiling the efforts of their philandering employer Count Almaviva to seduce Susanna and teaching him a lesson in fidelity. This humorous, light hearted opera is without doubt, one of our favourite love stories.

6. Eugene Onegin Tchaikovsky

In at number six, based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel, Eugene Onegin follows a selfish hero who lives to regret his blasé rejection of a young woman's love. It’s lush, romantic score and heart wrenching story makes it an obvious choice for us.

5. Tosca Puccini

Making it into the top five is the first entry for Puccini. Floria Tosca may have many admirers but she only has eyes for one man, the painter Cavaradossi. But the malevolent Chief of Police, Scarpia, has other ideas and wants her for himself. As he schemes to trick the lovers and get what he wants, dramatic and tragic events unfold, leaving Tosca stood alone clutching a dagger in her bloodstained hands, and with a shocking final twist to follow.

4. Madam Butterfly Puccini

Puccini’s classic flies in at number four. A story of unrequited love, this beautiful opera tells the tale of an American naval officer, Pinkerton, and his marriage to the young Cio-Cio-San, a local geisha. She truly believes that one day Pinkerton will return to her, which leads to easily one of the most romantic arias in opera, Un bel dì.

3. La traviata Verdi

It may be Verdi’s only entry in our chart, but it’s a good one. Giorgio Germont has made a terrible mistake. Germont has realised that Violetta, the fallen woman he drove away from his son, Alfredo, was the best thing that will ever happen to his inexperienced boy. This popular classic has made its way into many a heart and is more than deserving of a place in our top three.

2. Tristan Und Isolde Wagner

Based on the very famous tale of Tristan and Iseult, Wagner’s masterpiece certainly fulfils the expectations of a great operatic love story. Tragedy and heartbreak is the inevitable end for Tristan and Iseult after they drink a potion that causes them to fall madly in love. This helplessly romantic tale has inspired many other operas, including Frank Martin’s Le Vin herbé.

1. La bohème Puccini

Taking pride of place at number one is another Puccini favourite. La bohème tells the tragic tale of Rodolfo and Mimì, and how love at first sight can turn sour in the face of adversity. As love stories go, this one really does tick all the boxes, and that is why it has hit our top spot.

Opera is full of wonderful stories of love, from the tragic to the uplifting, the hilarious to the poignant. Whatever your Valentine’s Day plans, you can be certain that your love affair with opera will never let you down.