Monday, September 21, 2009

Opera Lover

Another Opera House PhotoImage by sachman75 via Flickr
The glass above my head shattered. An opera singer shattered it from across the room using her voice. She noticed me drunkenly balancing a champagne glass on my head at a party and nudged her friend. Then, she let loose a high "C" and blew the glass up, spraying shards everywhere. People around her covered their ears.  More glasses were dropped.  Glass was everywhere.

I looked at her and mouthed "What the fark," but she mistook it for something naughty. She looked directly into my eyes and nudged her friend again, so I dropped to the floor and covered my head with my hands. I was wearing $400 glasses.

Suddenly, she was slapped by a gentleman standing nearby. His voice was like a heavenly roar.

"What in God's name are you doing, woman?"

She looked at him with disgust.

"Having a little fun, you... Iago."

The mention of that name enraged him.  I crawled away but the floor was covered in glass, so I screamed something worthy of a Bellini tragedy, but was drowned out by their voices. She was yelling at him, and he was using a counter-tenor against her. It sounded beautiful.  So I stopped crawling and began listening. As did everyone else. Snacks were handed out.

In the end, they were so out of breath we had to applaud. Some more glasses were dropped, but this time no one cared.

My appreciation for opera expanded that day -- I began watching soap operas religiously. I even memorized which ones belonged to what TV networks, the ultimate in devotion.

Since there are so many soap operas on TV, I had no choice but to get a TiVo, so I could watch them in one chunk. It forced me to stay up til midnight most nights, but that is the price you pay for being a devotee of art. Now, if they would only introduce singing...

I had such an appetite for these shows that I even tapped into the Hispanic market. I recorded all the Telemundo soaps and paid for a service to have them translated. But that wasn't enough, so I had the Italian ones satellited in, which turned out to be the best.

Several out-of-work opera singers starred in these Italian soaps. It was the ultimate in opera fetishism.

One lady had been queen of the stage, but she took the role of a dowdy prison warden on the show. She was trampled to death by a crowd of rioters. She decided to retire after that, after the producers wouldn't let her come back from the dead in a dream. Actually, they agreed to one dream, but she demanded an unprecedented four dreams. They told her to hit the road.

One gentleman had a famous mustache that he was ordered to shave for the show. Needless to say, he was distraught. The writers simply built it into an episode, so he could shave it in front of a sympathetic audience.

Another well-known star never allowed his speaking voice to be heard in public, so he was afraid to use it on the show. The producers made him a deaf mute.

I watched these Italian soaps while eating popcorn but switched to pasta in tribute to that great nation, but it required so much attention that so I switched back to popcorn. I now eat popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Speaking of cheese, American soaps are the "cheesiest," followed by: Italian soaps, then Hispanic soaps. I hear Iranian soaps are pretty cheesy too, but I haven't seen one -- yet.

Next week I plan on watching all the Canadian soaps. That should kill an hour.

Eventually, I will watch all the soaps of the world. I will let you know how things turn out.

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