ROSA ROSA ROSA ROSA! DEBAUCHERY!
So in Music Tutorial on Thursday, Mel had us listen to this 'opera' by a composer named Louis Andriessen, who is, as you will soon realize, absolutely insane. I mean, completely and fully insane.
Let me try and summarize the opera.
There's a woman. She's engaged to this composer who writes music for Spaghetti Westerns. The year is 1957. He has a horse, portrayed on stage by a stuffed (real) horse on a treadmill, which looks like it's walking. It's black. He cares more about the horse than her.
At one point, the gigolos (of course there are gigolos. Why? I haven't the foggiest. Having read the libretto and listened to the music did not illuminate this point. That's the sort of opera this is) or some other members of the chorus rip the clothes off this woman (I think her name is Esmerelda) and she goes through the rest of the opera stark naked. Although, at some point thereafter, she covers herself in black ink, head to toe, in an attempt to become the horse. Now, at this point, the composer wanders through the room and flips a coin over whether he wants to a) make love to his fiancee or b) write music. (Jay: "I find myself in that position all the time.")
Now, inevitably, at this point in the opera, you as an audience member must be wondering, "Hmm... are 24 bovine ghosts portrayed by naked men with brooms and leather aprons going to appear, lie down on the stage, and hang from it as it raises up and becomes a wall, and if so, will this happen soon?" Well, I am pleased to reassure you that that happens next. Approximately. Thus ends Act I.
So then, after the intermission or whatever, the gigolos have suddenly become cowboys in one of the Spaghetti Westerns. The composer is assassinated, presumbably by one of the gigolo/cowboys. The composer had wanted to have his horse stuffed, and the chorus knows this, so they do the obvious thing, by opera logic, which is, of course, to stuff the horse with the naked, ink-smeared-greiving-almost-widow. So now the actress is naked, covered in ink, and crammed inside what was once a living animal but is now an exercise in taxidermy. And we still have quite a bit of opera to go.
So then, naturally, the Investigatrix shows up, because she needs to investigate. Somewhere around here, they discover that the composer had wanted his horse to be burned when he died. Thus, they burn the horse, still stuffed with widow, apparently in a fairly realistic fashion. We are encouraged to examine the clues. Then, the opera ends, and a character called the "Index Singer" comes out and sings the glossary of the opera in about a 10 minute hip-hop piece.
The strangest thing about this opera is the fact that it's WILDLY popular in Holland. It's been produced and revived over and over and it always sells out and is the hottest ticket in town. The only explaination I can find is that many substances that are controlled in the US are not controlled in the Netherlands.
A few quotes from the discussion of the opera:
"What happens with the fiancee and the horse?"
"She's in the horse, curtain down, right?"
"No, she sings an aria from inside the horse, right?"
Mel: "No, actually, she's burned to death inside the horse."
"The opera doesn't live in HappyLand."
"What about SuggestionLand?"
(Note: In labs, whenever one makes an unsolicited suggestion about another's piece, it's referred to as SuggestionLand, although occasionally, things come from the Isle of Ideas or the Place of Proposals also. This practice is universally considered to be lame, and is used by almost everyone.)
"He always wanted to be a Western Gigolo."
Student: "Are the saxes chasing each other?"
Teacher: "Do you want to go back and listen?"
All Students: "NO!"
The Cowboys:GET UP, ROSA!Me: "At this point in the show?"
WE ALL KNOW YOU ARE THE CORPSE.
WHO WOULD EVER WANT TO KILL A COMPOSER?
"Ah, so this is the stuffing scene."
"So the obvious choice is to stuff his wife. 'Lets take the grieving widow and stuff her into the horse.'"
"Is he a live horse?"
"So when they stuffed her body into the horse, where did they stuff her? Which part? Is there a little door? Little stairs?"
"So after Rosa [the composer] dies, suddenly he sings in falsetto. Lying over the back of the horse. Dead. He's been emasculated by his death."
"You cross over the River Falsetto."
"Yeah, but you get Styx back later."
No attributions here because I didn't write them down and don't remember. 7 hours of lab tomorrow, then home, packing, cleaning, and flying to Missouri. I do not promise to blog until I make it to Missouri, but I'll try.