May 24, 2015

To honor Dave: my various Top Ten lists and two new ones

David Letterman
(photo by Alan Light)
Through the years, I've shamelessly borrowed David Letterman's fabled "Top Ten List" format for occasional attempts at humor in these posts. If you didn't find them funny, no worries - I enjoyed them immensely, which is actually enough for me.

Anyway, last night (as I write this) was Dave's final show before he sinks into what I'm pretty sure will be his retirement persona: a low-profile, virtually anonymous, somewhat grouchy senior citizen. So as a tribute to a guy who made me laugh helplessly on several occasions, I thought I'd round up all my previous Top Ten posts and present them here with their links for you peruse in case any of you Faithful Readers missed 'em. Plus, I'll provide one or two new ones at the bottom. So here they are!

Top Ten operatic onion jokes (from 1/13/20130)

Top Ten rejected "Mikado" character names (3/4/2012)

Top Ten incredibly relevant shockingly tasteless updated operas (5/19/2013)

Top Ten signs Peter Gelb is going nuts (6/23/2013)

Top Ten ways the tough economy has impacted the opera world (12/2/2012)

Top Ten rejected curses for "Cavalleria Rusticana" (4/3/2015)

So now let's try our hand at a new one. I was thinking about the creative process involved in coming up with names for operatic characters, principals and bit parts alike. The two that came to mind first were Tosca, the title character in Puccini's famous "shabby little shocker", and Fiorello, a minor character who has a few lines at the beginning of Rossini's Barbiere di Siviglia. Whence "Tosca"? Whence "Fiorello"? Were there discussions about these amongst the various creative teams? Arguments? Knock-down drag-outs? Or were they pretty much chosen out of a hat?

I can provide some context. I know People In High Places who have provided me with primary sources on both works, enabling me to present the rejected choices that preceded the final ones. So let's begin with the


10. Roscoe

9.   Bosco

8.  Frisky

7.  Fresca

6  CostCo

5  Esskay (click the link; see, originally the character was a butcher, not an opera singer)

4  Disco

3. Mildred  (this one was quickly rejected)

2  Mouseka-la-Teer (Isn't it eerie how that one would have foreshadowed the Mickey Mouse Club? Yep - darn eerie)

And the No. 1 rejected name for Tosca:

1  Osca Madison (character originally conceived as an untidy sports writer...)

BUT I'M NOT DONE!!!!!! So let's make us sorry we ever heard of David Letterman by sharing the


10.  La Guardia (you might have to click that link for this to make sense. Mind you: you still might not laugh, but at least it will make sense.)

9   De Blasio

8  Giuliani

7.  Bloomberg

6  Lemonjello

5.  Cigarillo

4  Pennantello

3  Showantello

2  Bob

And the No. 1 rejected name for Fiorello:

1.  Melloyellow (I'm just mad about Top Ten lists) (Quite wrong)

No comments:

Post a Comment