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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Death and the Rhinestone Maidens

And now for something completely different: an instruction in opera appreciation in one act, 'twixt the Cab Sav and Cav and Pag in the Café Mozart.

Death and vengeance, that's the stuff
A statue of Hans Sachs in Nuremberg. He appears in
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (which is German for
The Sound of Mucus).
Demanded by the opera buff —
They don't care who does the deeds.
So long as someone sings and bleeds.

They're not content with minor strife,
They have to see some loss of life.
One more thing: the operatic
Kind of death must be dramatic:

Make it that, and they won't gripe
If cause of death is trash and tripe.
A thrown-down gun, a fallen dagger
Will do to make the player stagger,

Sing and fall down on the left
While all the cast sing they're bereft.
In Wagner's operas, deathly pallor
Pays the entry to Valhalla –

Opera deaths are rarely cool,
And most are prone to ridicule.
Casting call: young Irish hoofers who don't quite understand what
Lohengrin is all about. It isn't actually an opera about a contented
cow, at least not the Wagner one. TheTossini version was, but who
has heard ofTossini today?
In Cavalleria Rusticana,
The hero's stabbed by a green banana.

And after that, it's all downhill
There's lots of sillier ways to kill:
Pagliacci dies a death more mean,
Crushed by a falling aubergine;

And in some opera by Rossini,
The murder's done by ripe zucchini.
If you think that's a weak libretto,
You haven't yet seen Rigoletto.

So that's the story, mark my word:
In opera, death is quite absurd.
If you're a star then one thing's certain:
You'll bleed before the final curtain.

Now off we go, the opera's on
But don't ask why they're all called "Don"
We've had our meal and it was filling
So let's avoid an off-stage killing.

This is dedicated to all those people who haven't realised yet that an opera is just a musical in which the story (called a libretto after the great writer Antonio Libretto) is much more complicated.

Caution: this post may contain traces of nuts.
That said, all facts contained herein are of equal reliability.

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