Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gadjo’s Night at the Opera #2

WARNING: The following contains misogyny, vulgarity, decapitation, nastiness and, ultimately, more Country and Western music than it does actual Opera.

To continue the classical music theme, I’m very glad that my singing teacher enjoys Lieder as much as I do, but he also likes opera. I respect his opinion, but I do feel it’s high time that we at Gadjo Dilo addressed the task of extracting the Michael from The World’s Best-Loved Arias:

La Donna è Mobile (from Verdi's Rigoletto): Women are like furniture*: you’re excited when you get your hands on a new piece, but after a while you’re content to leave it in the kitchen and forget about it.

Nessun Dorma (from Puccini's The Best of The Three Tenors): The monster of the Loch, it sleeps; see if you can wake it up, Luciano.

Recondita Armonia (from Puccini’s Tosca): I’m going to try to repair this mouth organ, I want to have go at Freight Train.

Habanera (from Bizet’s Carmen): (Oi!) Have a Banana.

Che Gelida Manina (from Puccini’s La Bohème): Your tiny hand is frozen. If medical science improves by the time we get to the final act of this then we’ll take it out of the freezer and try to sow it back on again. In future I’ll be more careful not to sing in Italian and shave at the same time. Sorry about that.

Votre toast (from Bizet’s Carmen): Here’s your toast.

Tutto e Deserto (from Verdi’s Il trovatore): ...and there’s fruit salad for afters.

Glitter and Be Gay (from Bernstein’s Candide): I’m not usually a vindictive person, but I’d like to restage this – more a happening, really - using this Otis Lee Crenshaw song** with Gary Glitter in the submissive rôle.

Sorry to end on such unpleasantness, but there you go. Speaking of Otis, I think I’m going to take matters in my own hands and write a whole Otis Lee Crenshaw opera; heck, it practically writes itself:

* “Mobile” means “furniture” in Romanian. I’m pleased to report there's actually an astonishingly vulgar Romanian version of this song, which goes (when translated) like this: Women are changeable, as the crows shit, sometimes is hard, another is more soft.

** If you have trouble with accessing this video, try this (ignore the visuals, I've no idea what they're all about).


Lulu LaBonne said...

please post a video of you performing the Romanian version in translation.

I'd pay good money to see that!

Gorilla Bananas said...

How interesting that "mobile" means furniture in Romanian, when most of the stuff is very un-mobile. Why don't they make furniture on wheels? Wooden furniture is an abomination, BTW.

Brit said...

Nessun Dorma (from Puccini's The Best of The Three Tenors):


You've got your own back for the BBC iPlayer here, as your vid is telling me that my country can't view it.

Re: the Schubert doc, it's called "The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow" and it's actually on Youtube in various parts which you'll have to pick through a bit. It's a real old skool film, no talking heads or twaddle, just lots of music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxYCJyMqPEI.

Scarlet Blue said...

I am being told that the video isn't available in my country - As Brit has pointed out!

Treat a woman kindly or she may turn into a crow and make a mess on your windscreen. [Ancient Vermilion proverb chap 6, page 3382]


Gadjo Dilo said...

Lulu, now, there's a challenge! I'd have to undo all my voice training first, though ;-)

Bananas, I never thought about that. Unfortunately my Romanian dictionary isn't sophisticated enough to give the derivation of the word.

Brit, thanks for the YouTube vid, I'm playing it now. No talking heads, no Germaine Greer (or whoever) expounding something that just popped into her head like it's the gospel truth... just how it should be :-)

Scarley, I've now given alternatives - hope you can listen to those at least. The woman/crow thing is the stuff of legend, and fortunately I haven't experienced it yet ;-)

inkspot said...

Great post Gadj, now that you'e summarized western music could you do philosophy please?

zmkc said...

Send your singing teacher up to Belgrade and make him sit through the entire Ring Cycle in Serbian - my mother-in-law did that to my husband when he was a teenager and it cured him of most opera forever.

Eryl Shields said...

I hadn't heard of Otis Lee Crenshaw before, now I want a bandanna.

Madame DeFarge said...

I remain in awe of your cultural leanings and erudition. You could be the Kenneth Clark of our age.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Inky, thanks mate. Phew, I reckon that's a challenge I'm gonna have to take up :-)

zmkc, welcome - I've never once heard my singing teacher mention Wagner, but I suspect that as he's a deutschophile (is that a word?) he might flinch at the Serbian!

Eryl, but his bandana is the Confederate flag - scary, I don't recommend it!

Madame, Kenneth Clark, Conservative MP and former Chancellor of the Exchequer?? Hmm, jazz, cricket and real ale lover - I suppose it could be worse.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Me and the lady are both far too young to remember that it was Alan Clark's dad.

I won't mention Wagner's "Parsifal," nor his mate Dill the dog.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Kev, unfotunately I never made the acquaintance of your Ken and consequently have never been properly civilised. Parsifal the Lion? I have vague memories of such a beast!

Susan said...

Wow! I had no idea you were musical.. As for glittering, gay (and misogynist) opera, I recommend you check out Mirandolina by Martinu.

It's a shame about Mr Glitter, I always thought his songs were rather fun, but even a combination as powerful as music and humour doesn't seem to transcend the utterly detestable associations they now have.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hi Susan, Mr Glitter transmuted from buffoon to abomination, and unfortunately doesn't seem too inclined to question his own predilections. Thanks for the link: now, that's how opera should be staged... bright, gaudy and with no concessions to reality!

No Good Boyo said...

The barbarous Russians insist on singing all opera in their own twisted tongue. As a student I amused myself by translating the most exquisite arias into the sort of Russian you'd hear in bars. "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" became "Znachit, ya poshyol", or "Right, I'm off then".

I later moved on to Cure lyrics.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Boyo, the Russians surely have carte blanche to sing in their own ghastly language seeing as how nobody else is going to. The Cure, on the other hand, look like Rasputin's girlfriends having a bad hair day.

Susan said...
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