December 15, 2012

Hey opera characters: Santa didn't forget you!

Santa Claus: big, big opera fan, as it turns out. What, that surprises you? What kind of music did you think they play at the North Pole all year long; Christmas music? After two months of carols, aren't you about ready to throw up? Santa's no different, amigo. He and the elves like to chillax to the sweet, sweet strains of Italian bel canto.

So Santa likes to make a little extra room in his gi-normous sack of presents for a few trinkets he saves for your favorite opera characters.

Okay, they may not be literally your "favorites"; they were the characters for whom I could think up gags, if you must know.

All righty! Let's see what Santa is leaving under the tree for the "support from the diaphragm" crowd, shall we?

The Commendatore (from Don Giovanni): a kevlar vest. Santa wants to even the playing field in your duel in Act I.

Werther (suicidal hero in Massenet's opera): a membership in eHarmony. Santa thinks you need to get out there and meet some other girls.

Falstaff (ne'er-do-well title character in Verdi's opera): a membership in Jenny Craig. Dude, try a salad once in a while. Santa says your cholesterol level is "naughty".

Gilda (the love-struck maiden from Rigoletto): cell phone number for Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni's ex. Santa thinks you need to chat with her about the consequences of obsessing over the wrong man.

Tristan (Isolde's main squeeze): an antidote. Santa thinks you'll be happier with a non-drug-induced romance.

Frosch (jailer from Die Fledermaus): a couple of silicone ear plugs for when Alfred bursts into song. Santa says there's no reason to suffer, and your bit in Act III needs to be tightened up; it's running a little long.

For Desdemona
Desdemona (from Otello): a DVD of "The Burning Bed" with Farrah Fawcett. Santa thinks she needs to be your new role model, sweetie; when your man turns abusive it's time to take control of the situation.

Hansel and Gretel: a couple of years in scouting, and a compass. Santa thinks your wilderness survival skills are pretty lame.

Jenůfa: a plastic surgeon. Santa sees no reason for you to go through life with that thing on your face.

Stéphano (the page in Romeo & Juliette): ten years of sessions with a shrink. Santa suspects you're going to have a hard time dealing with the fact that your stupid smartass song about a turtledove got two men killed. Good job! Can you say "guilt trip"?

They'd take a bullet for Riccardo. Or Gustavo. Whoever.
Riccardo/Gustavo (from either version of Un Ballo in Maschera): a security detail. Santa thinks it's odd that you're the governor/king, and yet you go out in public with no bodyguards. Wise up, dude. You want a few goons wearing dark glasses and packing some serious heat around you.

Wowkle (Indian squaw from The Girl of the Golden West) two semesters paid tuition for "English as a Second Language" at your local high school. Santa may have his reindeer trample you if you say "ugh" one more time.

Dr. Dulcamara (pitch-man from L'Elisir d'amore) an updated product line. Santa claims you would make a good sales rep for ExtenZe, that modern-day herbal supplement for "natural male enhancement". Once Nemorino actually lands Adina, he'll want to feel confident, right? Right!

Radames (from Aida) an attorney. Santa thinks you're carrying that "you have the right to remain silent" thing a little too far, but definitely keep quiet until legal counsel shows up. This trial is a JOKE, dude.
Go ahead, Fricka - kick the tires! Take her for a test drive!

Fricka (Wotan's wife in Die Walkuere): permission to borrow Santa's sleigh and reindeer team during the post-Christmas off season. You're the wife of a god, for Pete's sake: you look ridiculous in your little wagon with a male sheep pulling it along. Time to upgrade. Just have it back by Halloween, okay? You know how early the holidays begin these days...

The entire cast of Il Trovatore: Uh-oh, bad news: Santa is stumped. Y'all are pretty much goners. Ain't nothing gonna make those spirits bright, including dashing through any snow.

My book THE OPERA ZOO: SINGERS, COMPOSERS AND OTHER PRIMATES is available from Kendall Hunt Publishing. Order online or by phone from customer service: 1-800-344-9034, ext. 3020. Also available at

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