Murderous, salacious, backstabbing or vain each of these famous female opera characters have shown that there is no mercy to their wicked ways. Here is our choice for the top 5 all time most deadly divas of opera.
OLGA BORODINA – as Delilah. Photo by Larry Merkle
Delilah seduces Samson into sharing the secret of his strength – his hair. Once he has blissfuly fallen asleep following a passionate night together she shaves his head and has him arrested.
(Samson & Delilah, Camille Saint-Saëns)
CHRISTINE GOERKE – as Elektra. Photo by Urquhart Imagination
Elektra’s violent tendencies are obviously related to having an extremely dysfunctional family life. After her mother kills her father, Elektra becomes unstable, distraught and obsessed with the need to exact revenge for her father’s death. She seeks the help of her brother Orestes to finish the deed and together they successfully murder their mother. (Elektra, Richard Strauss)
MARIE ARNET – as Lulu. Photo by Clive Bard/Arena Pal
Lulu is inadvertently responsible for her first husband’s deadly heart attack and her second husband’s suicide. When her third husband is shot to death by her own hand it becomes wildly apparent that this is an extremely dangerous woman to be involved with romantically, a true femme fatale. (Lulu, Alban Berg)
MARIA CALLAS – as Medea. Photo by Emilio Lari / Rex Features
You do not want to get on Medea’s bad side, this hot-tempered woman will go to great lengths to exact her revenge. When her husband, Jason, betrays her for a younger woman Medea begins her path of fury by poisoning Jason’s new lover. The sorceress then kills her two sons and presents their bodies to her emotionally distraught husband before flying away in a chariot of fire. (Medea, Luigi Cherubini)
RENEE FLEMING – as Lucrezia Borgia. Photo: Karin Cooper, SFOpera
Lucrezia Borgia, the favourite love child of Pope Alexander VI, is a die-hard serial killer who accidentally poisons her own son just moments before running out of the antidote. (Lucrezia Borgia, Gaetano Donizetti)