Il tarocco dell’opera

At various points, I've had friends who did Tarot readings, and who could occasionally be prevailed upon to read my cards. I've always found the Tarot iconography interesting to think about, even though I'm a terribly amateurish reader myself. Last year I was amused to come across both a Knitting Tarot deck and an Edward Gorey Tarot. All of which is by way of introduction to the topic of this post, namely: for quite a while I've been wondering if anyone has ever assembled an opera-themed Tarot deck, with cards representing characters and scenes from the entire operatic repertoire. This deck is the closest thing I've found to what I'm thinking of, but it's not all opera-related.

A few of the cards suggest obvious possibilities: Parsifal for the Fool, Sarastro for the Magician, Norma for the High Priestess, various versions of Mephistopheles for the Devil (though, personally, I'd choose Nick Shadow from The Rake's Progress). One could take one's pick of couples for both the Lovers and the Two of Cupss. The Chariot makes me think of Aida because of the Egyptianness of the imagery in the Rider-Waite deck. And so on. (I confess myself stumped by the Hanged Man.)

Just now, Googling "opera tarot," I found this discussion thread at the Aeclectic Tarot forum, and saw that other people have had the same thought, with all sorts of clever ideas for cards I hadn't even thought of. (The Nine of Swords as Lucia's mad scene? The Brindisi from Act 1 of La Traviata for the Three of Cups? Excellent.) But I don't think anyone's actually produced such a deck, all the same.

Anyway, this is one of the things I ponder when I'm in a speculating state of mind. Fellow operaphiles, care to weigh in?

2 Responses to “Il tarocco dell’opera”

  1. I don’t think I know enough about either opera or tarot yet to really comment intelligently on these, but it certainly sounds as though it would work. I wonder if anyone has pitched it to major companies?

  2. Amanda says:

    I don’t know, but I bet someone out there would actually be interested. Maybe I’ll send the Met an email!