Mad scenes

Although the most famous examples come from bel canto operas, mad scenes can in fact be found in every era, from Handel's Orlando to Britten's Peter Grimes. It's often a moment of vocal virtuosity for sopranos, but you will discover in our selection below that tenors and baritones are not spared from madness.

Broken by men and rejected by the world, Lucia kills her husband and sees the man she loves in a last fevered dream. A dark jealousy seizes Otello and turns him into a murderer. When he surprises Pelléas and Mélisande, this same jealousy drives Golaud to fratricide. The darkest remorse haunts Boris Godunov, Lady Macbeth and her husband... In opera, characters have more than enough reasons to tip over into madness.