Thursday, September 08, 2005

Things Opera Has Taught Me

As always, the comments at Making Light are the best part of that blog. Besides many addenda to Jim's ballad lessons, they have branched out into lessons from opera:

Ajay: A very small mask is an impenetrable disguise. That could be anyone under there. Even your spouse.

Invariably, women (and men) from the following ethnic groups: Spanish, Italian, Wild Romantic Gypsy Pirate Smuggler: carry knives and will use them. If you must give them bad news, be tactful. Otherwise, if you are lucky, they will probably stab themselves (if unlucky, you, then themselves). Ideally, deliver such news by letter. If not practical, stand a safe distance away and shout.

The worst possible answer to the question "Guess who's coming to dinner?" is not "Sidney Poitier". Believe me, Sidney Poitier is good compared to some of the possible alternatives. DO NOT ACCEPT RETURN INVITATIONS.

Hunchbacks: bad news. Invariably they will have a bitter grudge against you. Avoid them, and certainly don't employ them. It seems harsh, but it will save you a lot of trouble.

While on the subject: your servants, however craven, smelly, and generally lower-class they may be, are more intelligent than you. Take their advice (and for heaven's sake don't annoy them) and you stand a decent chance of not being a) humiliated b) killed or c) dragged down to hell by hordes of demons.

Do not become an artist. Or a singer. Or a dancer. Or, for that matter, a courtesan. Such persons rarely live long.

Teresa: If you find yourself in an opera, whatever you do, don't sing soprano. Demote yourself to a spear-carrier if necessary, but don't sing soprano. Altos aren't guaranteed to survive, but they have a much better chance of making it through the end of the final act.

PJ Evans: Don't sing baritone: baritones are almost always the villains. Tenor and bass are better ranges for survival.

John M. Ford
: And regardless of what you may have heard elsewhere, prowling the city by night dressed in a bat suit will not make you look cool.

Dave Bell: Despite the general warning against operatic pirates, should you be presented with a pretty paradox involvin indentures, birthdays, and leap-years-day, you may yet find happiness, unless you are a sworn law-enforcement officer, in which case you should put Mr. Keith Wald on a retainer.

Me: Don't let the gypsy girl out of jail, no matter how hot she is. Don't get involved with painters, it never ends well. Foreswearing love can make the whole world end. Foreign soldiers are always married, affairs always end in death, and you should never trust a queen who sings a lot of high notes.

Vassalissa: The baritone never gets the girl in the end. Only one exception to date, and he wasn't in competition with the tenor. If he's very good, the baritone may instead heroically sacrifice himself so that the tenor may get the girl.

If you're a married woman, your husband will cheat on you. Your only choice here is what to do about it.

If you decide to get your revenge in kind, then the, er, subject of your revenge may turn out to be the same person as the object.

On the other hand, if you're a man trying to entice married women into adultery, you could end up in a navigable waterway with a basket of laundry. At best.

2 comments:

Lisa Hirsch said...

You've forgotten a very important one:

Believe all dire warnings coming from a contralto. "Weiche, Wotan, weiche!"

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Yes, contraltos are not to be messed with.