Young and alone in Eastern Europe, Anya is seduced by the handsome Uri who entices her with a better life in the West. When Uri feigns a problem with the immigration papers, he persuades Anya to go with Viktor, who forces her into a van with another young woman. Cramped, and without food or water, their fateful journey begins. When they arrive, cold and hungry but still hopeful, they meet Viktor, who shatters their dreams and shamelessly reveals his true nature: the incarnation of Evil, their all-powerful master, the arbiter of their fate.

Evil men who get what they want through temptation and seduction have played pivotal roles in opera for centuries. Look no further than Mozart’s Don Giovanni to find a lead character who has a list of 1003 women he has seduced and abandoned. Mozart’s aria for the Don’s valet Leporello enumerates his employer’s seductions to humorous effect. And while some of his conquests seem relatively innocent –fleeing the persistent Donna Elvira, or disrupting the wedding plans of the peasant Zerlina  – Don Giovanni’s ultimate murder of the Commendatore, Donna Anna’s father, shows the depth of evil in his lustful pursuit of women.

Other candidates for the “most evil character in opera” include Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca, the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto or lago in his Otello, Hagen in Wagner’s Die Götterdämmerung. Offenbach actually included four villains, all sung by the same bass, in his Les Contes d’Hoffmann. However, men do not have the monopoly on evil seduction in the world of opera. Women characters that fit the category include the inimitable Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Ortrud in Wagner’s Lohengrin, and Dalila in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila.

Who are your candidates for the most evil characters in opera? Leave a comment and join the conversation.

We’ll explore a new theme each week until show time. Stay tuned next week for Justice, followed, finally, by Courage. See how Anya17 portrays these themes and their historical roots in great operas of the past.

But the only way to find out the fate of Anya is buy tickets. Today!