The Stendhal reference came as a surprise to me as well

If you wanted to build a truly accurate picture of the collective mind of opera fandom, I think the thing to do would be to aggregate all google searches that lead people to various opera blogs. And then we would make a giant wordle out of the results and after that we would probably regret that wordle for the rest of our lives, because the biggest words on it would be “breasts” and “calixto bieito.”

At any rate, I have noticed that the google searches that bring people here tend to fall into fairly well-defined categories.

First, the straightforward:

 Then, the slightly more complicated but still pretty much the kind of thing you’d expect:

The setup the aches for its missing punchline:

The person who knows exactly what he/she wants:

The question that evokes a sort of 3 a.m. state of opium-induced paranoia:

Drunk people googling Claus Guth:


The inevitable:


And, finally, people who may or may not be looking for The Charterhouse of Parma fanfic:

18 thoughts on “The Stendhal reference came as a surprise to me as well

  1. This probably reveals my fourth grade (maybe 8th grade) sense of humor, but I am still chuckling about “tasteful depictions of anal sex”

    I mean, WHAT did they land on in your blog with that search!?

    My favorite search that led someone to my blog was “Philippe Jaroussky Girlfriend” and I thought.. move along folks, there’s nothing here to see!


    1. There was an ENO production of Ariodante in which the relationship between Dalinda and Polinesso is on the raw side – I’m not sure if that’s what they were looking for, but I think that must have been what they landed on (it’s the only post I’ve ever written that mentions anal sex).

      For a while a few months ago I was getting one or several people searching over and over again to find out who Bo Skovhus’s wife is – I actually have no idea who that lady might be, but at least (unlike Jaroussky) they’re playing in the right ballpark!


  2. “calixto bieito” would top mine by a long way. Second would be variants on “maria ewing”, “maria ewing nude” and “maria ewing salome”. Most enigmatic would be “verdi opera 35 naked senior” and most WTF would be “horses humping”


    1. My only ever horse related search was “kirkschlager horse” and that was probably someone looking for that Salzburg production of Der Rosenkavalier where Octavian makes his act II entrance on a white horse.

      I think the most puzzling one I’ve ever gotten was “earworms water ballet” – that’s not quite as mysterious as your verdi one, though.


  3. I once got ‘Franz Welser-Möst Vampirblut?’ from an IP registered to the holding company which manages the Vienna State Opera. If anybody would care to enlighten me please do come forward. I um, don’t bite…


    1. 1. This comment wins the internet for today, as far as I’m concerned.

      2. I think you’ve got the plot right there of a best-selling genre novel: someone at that holding company knows that the opera world is being taken over by vampires, and suspects that Franz Welser-Möst is either one of the few humans left, or perhaps is at the center of the conspiracy . . .


      1. 1. I agree. Thank you. This has brightened my Friday afternoon considerably.
        2. I think maybe it should go straight to the opera stage.


        1. However, for the most part, searches that lead to me are fairly vanilla: Jonas Kaufmann is still my biggest draw, followed closely by Rolando Villazon, Philippe J. and….Malin Hartelius!!!


      2. No. 2 sounds like a great idea and something I’d have no hope of doing justice to.

        Right now, the worrying thought has struck me that this enquiry was made for vetting purposes and as such is five years late. The grave risks we Viennese opera-goers take!


    1. I read Charterhouse years and years ago in 2004 and I liked it – it had a sort of flair and wit and punch to it that I enjoyed. Although I tolerated Fabricio primarily for structural reasons: his antics were a sort of necessary counterweight to Sanseverina and Mosca.


      1. Ha! I read it in the mid-80’s (i.e. a couple of months ago), when they ran that ga-roovy dubbed Italian tv version on PBS (with Marthe Keller, who went on to direct the previous production of Don Giovanni at the Met that nobody liked), and then read the new translation in 2010.

        It does have flair. I will concede that point. I sort of wish he hadn’t dictated the whole thing off the cuff, though. It makes for some continuity problems. Like either the people are for Fabrizio or they are against him. It can’t be both on the same page. Or not without at least a half assed stab at explication. Then I remember thinking the real novel happens in the last ten pages, and that’s the novel Stendhal should have dictated. Oh well. That’s where the fanfic comes in, I suppose. Or would, if everybody weren’t [spoiler deletion] at the end.


        1. Yeah – this is true, it’s not a triumph of coherence in that sense. Stendhal was definitely going for more of a “coherence of heroic vibe” thing than a “coherence of actual plot” thing.

          This was the production of Don Giovanni that if memory serves, and it doesn’t serve much at this point (I think I saw it in 08 or 09 – I didn’t know the opera as well then) had a lot of brownish brick walls, and I think maybe Elvira was wearing a red dress? I remember seeing it, but I have no more specific recollection.


  4. Another unfortunate search word that leads people to my blog is “stupid” (phrases like “this is stupid” “stupid pictures” etc.) That’s what I get for doing a series called “Stupid Reviewer Comments”. On the other hand, those two posts are my first and fourth most-viewed ever…


    1. And the stupid reviewer comments series is pretty fun too. I was looking at something, I forget what, on Amazon the other day, and I saw one of the stupid reviewer comments you mentioned – I think it was the grumpy person complaining about why does Dorothea Röschmann get so many good roles when that particular reviewer doesn’t like her voice? Made me smile.


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