Yesterday I listened to ‘Cav and Pag’ from last week’s performance at the Royal Opera House. The emotions can get easily overloaded with the luxurious music and fierce melodrama of sex, love, jealousy and violent death.
A perfect antidote is the Marx Brothers’ Night at the Opera; of course it completely spoils you for Verdi’s Il Trovatore. I cannot now listen to the overture without hearing it morph into Down at the Old Ball Game, with Harpo and Chico throwing a baseball to each other in the pit of the New York opera house after they switched the orchestra’s music. The film is a perfect counterpoint to the opera’s absurdly melodramatic plot, albeit with some of best music preserved. The gypsies’ Anvil Chorus descends into farce as Harpo discovers he can rip the skirts off the performers playing female gypsies. “Now we’re getting somewhere!” remarks Groucho.
Alternatively, much shorter and ecstatically hilarious, is Bugs Bunny in What’s Opera Doc? The music is a melange of Wagner – The Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser and bits from The Ring cycle. The first time I saw it, with Bugs Bunny dressed up as Brünnhilde, I rapidly descended into helpless laughter.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs