Nine Handy Trouble-saving Opera Hacks

Do you ever think there’s a little too much drama in opera? Here I offer a few suggestions as to how the participants could save themselves a bit of trouble.

Radames to Aida: “I’m sorry darling, but you know I can’t discuss army business.”
Don José to Micaëla : “Oh yes, Carmen’s hot alright, but she’s crazy.  Will you marry me?”

 

Soldier to Desdemona: “Madam, you dropped your handkerchief.”

 

Cavaradossi to Angelotti: “Sorry mate, you’re not hiding down my well.”
Violetta to Alfredo: “No worries, I’ve had my BCG.”
Calaf to Ping, Pang and Pong: “…and if I get them wrong?…OK, I think I’ll pass.”
Butterfly to Pinkerton: “Marry you? Do you think I was born yesterday?”

 

Rigoletto
Gilda to Rigoletto: “You’re right Daddy, he’s a ratbag.  Let’s go home.”

 

La Boheme HD
Mimi: “Ah, there are the matches!”

Please feel free to suggest more in comments.

Cinquanta

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Rik, fast approaching half a ton
Decided something must be done
Respecting this occasion mighty
So he took ten out from Blighty –

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Rob came out to fair Verona
With Robyn, Lindsay and Fiona:
Rachel, Alice, saw no harm in
Flying out and watching Carmen
Debbie then expressed a need to
Have a hol and see Aida
While Kath and Ael declared quite archly
They would favour Pagliacci
Lastly Phil (whose opera passion
Balanced out his sense of fashion)
Made up eleven, perfect team
To challenge the Italian dream.

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Four operas in three days went past
Five travelled home, while six made fast
Their convoy south, and soon were gone
To the village, trousers of St.John
And soon they met invaders from the east
Two Gauls brought Tim from freshly conquered Greece
Biff, Sue and Nelson rushed to Umbria
To make our party even numberier:
Alice whiled away the hour
With the princes in the tower
Finding bugs throughout the county
Magnifying Daddy’s bounty:
Rachel swore, by hook or crook
To read her way through every book.

Then did Craig, courageous, witty
Resolve to find Perugia city
And the others would essay to
Follow Biff the “Navigator”
Which sterling strategy unravelled
As round and round the town they travelled
The moon rose, and the wolves were barking
Still they hadn’t found their parking
Until, at last, their visit done
They ventured on the homeward run:
Now our story gets quite scary –
Enter the Carabinieri
Who seized on Rik, on Tim, on Gauls
And grabbed them firmly by the – arms
Asserting the insurance sheet
Was out of date and incomplete
Once Rik was silent, then twice more
And so they charged him Traditor!
And decreed that he be later
Interred beneath the escalator

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Which would indeed have been his doom
Like Radames inside his tomb
But for Theodore and Ulysse brave
Who, determined Rik to save
And making sure they did not miss
Gave both police a Zidane kiss
Enabling all to get away
Undamaged on this fateful day.

And so, our tale of travellers bold
You’ll thank the gods, is nearly told:
But heed its lessons: in Perugia
Parcheggio will quickly lose ya
Listening from the city wall
You’ll hear the siren voices call
“This way! That way! Over there!”
Until they give up in despair
Three cars condemned to streets infernal
Suffering this fate eternal –
And by the pricking of my thumbs
Someone’s eaten all the plums!

 

(August 2006)

The Ticket Drawer

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When my mother died in 2007, my father was left with two pairs of opera tickets. Understandably, he didn’t feel like making a trip to the opera any time soon, and I was given the small task of finding a new home for them, and hopefully – in view of their cost – recouping him some of the value.

When I explained the circumstances, the Royal Opera House were very helpful: they simply asked me to bring them into their box office for a full refund, not dependent on resale. The other pair went to a Mr and Mrs Cumber whom Dad knew from his opera appreciation group. This gave me the chance to ask him whether they were the Richmond Cumbers or the Kew Cumbers. I was glad to see him raise a faint smile in response to this effort.

But it left a deeper impression when a friend commented that I’d been given a poignant task, and how sad it was that my mother hadn’t lived to use those tickets. And yes, of course, it was sad. But as I thought about it, my feelings changed. Should she have died with no tickets in the drawer, no holidays to look forward to, no plans? Mum and Dad enjoyed a long, busy and happy retirement, full of voluntary work, days out, country walks, family visits and holidays, and, of course, opera trips.

All of that took planning, and the planning was evidence of their intention to live life to the full for as long as they could. And I came to like what those tickets said about Mum and Dad.