Friday, 26 April 2013

A night at the opera



I inadvertently mentioned at home that my boss had given me two tickets to the opera followed by a booked table at a great restaurant.

Next thing … we were sitting in one of those private balcony seats watching a lot of people on stage shouting at each other in song and walking about as if they’re constipated.

I smiled and feigned enjoyment.

I read the brochure, mostly to find out how many intervals there were and whether this place has a bar or not. Then, since there was nothing much else to read, I glanced at a summary of the plot of this play or musical or whatever it is we were watching.

What is it with opera? Why can’t it be simple and easy to understand?

Apparently, this fellow called Orlando loves the pretty young lady called Miranda. But one day whilst riding his horse he bumps his head against a low lying branch from a tree and falls from the horse and gets amnesia.

Now Amnesia has an identical twin sister called Memoria who, having found Orlando in a daze takes him to her home and looks after him. In time both Memoria and Amnesia fall for Orlando’s good looks and he falls in love with one of them but does not know which one, so alike they are.

Miranda finds him in the arms of Memoria, or was it Amnesia, (I can’t remember), and gets very jealous.

Miranda in turn falls in love with a plumber called Risotto.

One day Risotto realizes that Orlando is finally regaining his memory and is falling in love with Miranda all over again; much to the dismay of Memoria, or was it Amnesia? (I can’t remember!). Perhaps it was both … so alike they are.

As you would expect in all good operas; an argument ensues between the five of them; with a choir of about thirty people in the background screaming their song as if their lives depended on it. I’m not sure who the choir represents, but it all added up to the noise.

“Do you love me?” screams Miranda.

“Do you love me?” repeats Memoria … or was it Amnesia … I don’t care.

“Do you love me?” asks the other twin sister, whatever her name may be?

“Do you love me?” asks Risotto of the three women hoping that someone at least would care for him.

And that’s when we were relieved with the first intermission and a large glass of whisky in the bar. Sadly, fifteen minutes later a bell rang and everyone rushed to their seats. I can’t understand why.

I asked the barman if the bar stayed open. He said no; but offered to refill my glass so I could stay there alone for a bit longer.

Half an hour later I rejoined my seat and was told I had just arrived for the denouement. I looked in my dictionary for the meaning of that word.

Apparently, Risotto the plumber had challenged Orlando to a duel with metal pipes he uses in his plumbing business.

They fought for five minutes whilst singing at the same time. Eventually Orlando was hit hard on the knee and fell to the ground holding his chest.

“Son morto … son morto …” he sang loudly, which means I am dead.

Instead of calling for an ambulance and taking him to the ER room at the hospital; Risotto and Miranda joined in the singing, accompanied by the twin sisters and the ever-present choir. The more they sang the more Orlando responded even louder.

It took him ages to die holding on to his chest although I clearly saw that he was hit in the knee.

Eventually, he got up from the ground and the whole cast took several bows to the rapturous applause from the audience.

I really enjoyed that evening. Best whisky I had for ages.

22 comments:

  1. Victor, you're hilarious! I was all set to call you an uncultured peasant but your synopsis had me in stitches:-D

    What is this opera? I searched and searched those names on Google so that I could look knowledgable and more cultured than what you are, but all I found was your witty, little parody.

    I'm guessing that Risotto is a wordplay on Rigoletto and Miranda is Carmen Miranda which, if true, would seem to betray your ignorance and loathing of all things opera;-)

    Fess up, Victor - I'm beginning to think you would go to the opera even if there was no bar to prop up in the intervals!

    Funny post, Victor.
    God bless:-)

    PS. If your stats suddenly show 150 visits from Australia, it's because it's just taken me half an hour to publish this comment - apparently, the iPad doesn't like me to edit out my typos. I'll just have to get used to looking like an illiterate buffoon:-)



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    1. Hi Vicky,

      I'm so glad that you enjoyed my venture into the opera world. Let me explain the main characters in this memorable evening - I still remember it well.

      First and most important was an 24 year-old Chivas Regal whom I met in the bar and with whom a I spent a pleasurable half-hour or so. Then I also remember a Drambuie too. On stage was Risotto, I remember him well because this is what I had at the Italian restaurant afterwards; he was accompanied by Chianti, another favorite Italian friend of mine. Miranda was a beautiful waitress whose charms resulted in me being kicked hard under the table a couple of times.

      Memoria and Amnesia kept drifting in and out of my mind - must be the result of my friends at the bar.

      Now do you believe that I am cultured?

      God bless.



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    2. Ah, I'm the uncultured one. My excuse is that I don't drink - too short to reach the bar:-)

      If you had called your characters 'Latte', 'Macchiato' and 'Mocha', I would have cottoned on sooner:-D

      Very clever, Victor - even funnier!

      God bless:-)


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    3. Oh I do love a latte. But I'll admit not to understanding opera. The plots seem too complicated at times. The music can be good though - Aida, Nessun Dorma, Rossini and so on.

      God bless you, Vicky.

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  2. Victor, key to understanding an Opera is the hip flask. And not just any hip flask. It's got to have the finesh of brewed barley water (you like to call it whiskey)and...Pronto! the opera will becomes all clear and intelligible.

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    1. You're so right Remedia ... I should have remembered to take a flask with me.

      I'll certainly do that next time I am given tickets to the opera ... or ballet, by my boss.

      God bless.

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  3. I REALLY do think opera is boring (ballet too) and I don't even care if people think I am uncultured as long as I don't have to sit through it. A small price to pay I think :)

    Ballet = YAWN Have you ever sat through a dance recital? (Without falling asleep, of course.)

    Loved your take on the opera, Victor ;) Maybe the reason I am so uncultured is that I haven't primed myself with enough Chianti first.

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    1. Hello Mary. Great to see you visiting again. I wish I could welcome you with an opera tune or two, but I can't sing. I'll do a welcome ballet dance instead.

      Ouch !!! I stood on my tip toes and my head hit the ceiling!

      God bless.

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  4. I have a feeling I wouldn't be bored at all watching you do ballet ;)

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    1. Why do they always have to stand on tip toe in ballet? Why not hire taller dancers?

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    2. And why do men have to wear those tight pants revealing all there is to reveal?

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    3. and how do those women get to be sooooo skiny!!!! scrawny??!

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    4. It's all that walking on tiptoe that does it, Remedia.

      God bless.

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  6. we still laugh about the time when my daughter tried to get her future husband to go to the ballet with her. Every one was gathered around a long table. Finally she countered,

    "But we all (meaning her sisters and two sister-in-laws) manage to watch hockey with you and my brothers!!".

    Using dramatic gestures and a loud animated tone of voice, Eric replied,

    "We don't care if all of you watch sports with us. In fact we would rather you girls didn't watch with us because you are constantly chatting and interrupting. I will PAY you to go to the ballet. I will even pay for a friend to go with you. Heck I'll pay for both your dinner and a drink after the show but there is no way you will ever get me to a ballet!!"

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    1. I see what Eric means. I never understood ballet, although I'll admit it is hard work; especially when you have to lift a ballerina up high.

      God bless, Melanie.

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  7. This was extremely funny, Victor. One of your best. I am an opera lover and my favorite is Puccini's Turandot. It's a art form combining acting, singing, set design, orchestra and other stuff. For the ordinary people of the days when it was popular it was perfectly comprehensible. From about age four I listened to the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast every Saturday afternoon with my dad and especially enjoyed the Texaco Opera Quiz.

    All art forms aren't for everybody,though. The first time I heard Chinese opera (not Beijing opera which is different), the singers sounded like cats yowling in the back alley at midnight. After a few exposures, it grew on me a little, but I think I'd have to have lots of Chivas Regal to get through a whole evening of it.

    Thanks for a really enjoyable post.

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    1. Oh Barbara, you've spurred me into action. I've just been playing on the hifi Nessun Dorma from Turandot, and The Triumphal March from Verdi's Aida, and Beethoven's Ode to Joy amongst others ... And as I was standing there waving my baton in the air the orchestras on the CD did exactly what I wanted them to do.

      God bless you.

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  8. I have never seen an opera and have no desire to. Love this post though. LOL

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    1. Thank you Colleen. I'm so glad that I made you smile.

      God bless you.

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  9. Ah Victor... I love opera and actually trained at ballet but I know that either one may be an acquired taste! This post made me laugh out loud - "Do yo love me? screamed Miranda".
    Priceless. And I would pay decent money - donated to a charity of your choice - to see you in a one man show, my friend. God bless Victor x

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    1. Years ago Gigi I was a member of a group of entertainers putting on variety shows for charity. I used to write the sketches and compare the shows.

      Check this link: http://timeforreflections.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/reminiscing-about-false-teeth.html

      God bless.

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