Thanks to Zerbinetta at Likely Impossibilities, I have discovered a wondrous thing: a Twitter contest to summarize opera plots. (Rules here; explanation here; last year's winners here.) I'm not a Twitterer, but fortunately this is also a spectator sport, described by Charlotte Higgins as "the most fun opera nerds can have in 140 characters!" In my own fascinated contemplation of the almost-constantly-updating entries, I have discovered subgenres of pastiche, e.g. IreneVartanoff: "I'll build a castle in Paradise, I'm going to get there at any price; Stand aside, I'm on my way (Wotan, apologize to Gershwin)," and rhyme, e.g. ClassicalReview: "Notion. 'Potion'. Commotion. Emotion. Devotion." While savoring the more arcane entries, I have to say I have a special place in my heart for the irreverent:
ClassicalCritic: #operaplot I don’t love that silly girl. I’m too cool for this. Shoot, there goes my friend. Wait, maybe... But it is too late, too Russian.
Gtheule: Cigarettes are unwise and bullfighting is nuts, but a mezzo has them beat for crazy any day of the week. #operaplot
JoseSPiano: He sings. He schemes. He lies for the lovers. He steals keys. He evades arrest. But does he actually cut hair? #operaplot
Pauljz: 3 protagonists enter. 3 cries of “Turandot.” 3 gongs. 3 riddles. 3 correct answers. 3 ministers lament. 3 “Vinceròs!” 3 Acts end. #operaplot
thoscarpenter: Let's all try to figure out why the King of Sweden was assassinated in Boston. I think it has something to do with the censors. #operaplot
And in honor of irreverent, erudite opera summaries:
In the river Rhein! IN it! (Since you can't have just one: Hunding plays the French horn, Siegfried's Classic Understatement, and the whole world burns up.)
Tomorrow, with any luck, I will be experiencing firsthand Anna Russell's dictum that the beauty of grand opera is that you can do anything as long as you sing it. I've tried a number of recordings, I've read the libretto, I've pored over the score... and I still haven't connected with Carmen (sorry, Bizet.) I've been impressed. I've been moved. But part of me never stops thinking "Drôles de gens! Drôles de gens!" Will Kate Aldrich and Jonas Kaufmann ignite Richard Eyre's staging in a way that suddenly makes sense? Am I expecting too much? On va voir.