Opera Scenes in Video Games: Hitmen, Divas and Wagner’s Werewolves

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This article aims to illuminate the meanings and aesthetic effects generated by scenes of staged opera in video games. It also explores the images of opera transmitted to the huge audiences that games address. Three dimensions of the opera-game encounter are discussed. First, Tosca in Hitman: Blood Money and The Beggar’s Opera in Assassin’s Creed III are used to examine the treatment of violence and the discourse of popular appeal in games and opera. Second, the arias sung by women in Final Fantasy VI and Parasite Eve illustrate how a melodramatic mode of expression represents a confluence of the aesthetic priorities of the two media. Finally, The Beast Within’s meditation on Wagner reveals how opera sequences aim to engage players by conjuring phantasmagorias through a unifying and enrapturing spectacle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-286
Number of pages34
JournalCambridge Opera Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • video games
  • Tosca
  • Gabriel Knight
  • ludomusicology
  • classical music
  • phantasmagoria
  • Adorno
  • Wagner
  • Nietzsche
  • Final Fantasy
  • Assassin's Creed
  • Hitman
  • Puccini
  • John Gay
  • violence
  • death
  • realism
  • melodrama

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