La Cieca regrets to say it’s time to step back from the gratuitous display of bare skin in opera.
The above photo (by Cory Weaver) is of baritone Seth Carico in Minnesota Opera’s Dead Man Walking. Considered in the abstract, Carico is an incredibly good-looking man with a great body, and, so the photo suggests, a wonderfully hot attitude. All these are qualities La Cieca appreciates and admires as much as anyone else and probably rather more so.
These sexual qualities have a place in a lot of operas, because a lot of opera are at least in part about sex. For instance, Don Giovanni:
However, none of those qualities reasonably belongs in Dead Man Walking. It is a story without an sort of romantic relationship or sexual encounter.
I would go farther to day that depicting Carico’s character of murderer Joseph De Rocher as “hot” actively undermines the theme of the opera because it tends to sexualize the violent acts he commits. It’s hard to see how any of the material supports this conflation of sex and violence.
It’s not like I have any reverence for Dead Man Walking; in fact I think at least in its operatic form it’s pretty much glurge. But I have too much respect for the operatic art form to feel comfortable with even so mediocre a product to be sold as a leg show.
And this is all above and beyond the absurd image of a death row prisoner who keeps his pubes neatly shaved.