Everybody Must Get Stoned
In my literature-teaching days, I used to look at the five specific characters that are essential to an opera’s conflict. The first four were easy to identify in any story: the Hero, the Heroine, the Confidante to the Hero, and the Villain. But the character type that most intrigued my students was called Fifth Business. In opera, Fifth Business has no rival and is in fact barely noticeable, but he or she posses...