5 Classic Opera Cartoon Episodes

Patricia Barden as the title character in Carmen (2013); Photo: Robert Millard

Patricia Barden as the title character in Carmen (2013); Photo: Robert Millard

Imagine yourself at the opera for the first time. You’re sitting in the orchestra and the curtain rises to the sounds of the overture from Bizet’s Carmen. Suddenly, you realize that you’ve heard these notes before. But, where?

Opera has inspired artists in all mediums from fine art to literature to cartoon television. It may very well be that the first time you heard Carmen, you were watching a Tom and Jerry episode.

Here’s our list of 5 Classic Opera Cartoon Episodes.

1. Ever wonder what would happen if you cross Bugs Bunny with Wagner’s Ring cycle? Chuck Jones did. The result is his and writer Michael Maltese’s classic 1957 short, What’s Opera, Docwhere Elmer stars as Siegfried and pursues the beautiful Brunnhilde (Bugs in disguise).

2. Arnold and Helga do Carmen in Hey Arnold’s, What’s Opera, Arnold?” Other operas (including Pagliacci, the Ring cycle and The Marriage of Figaro) also make cameo appearances.

3. Everyone loves Carmen in Carmen Get It,the quintessential Tom and Jerry opera parody.

4. Bugs Bunny turns the tables on Elmer Fudd as the barber in The Rabbit of Seville.” 

5. The Simpson’s Sideshow Bob puts his Pavarotti cap on to perform “Vesti la giubba” from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. 

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