May 10, 2015

Trolling opera for possible presidential contenders

Candidate Turandot meeting with her advisors.
Can she count on YOUR vote?
(photo by Аркадий Зарубин)
Recently, all sorts of people I've never heard of - and in some cases, wish I hadn't - are declaring that they're running to be President of these United States. (Carly-somebody? What? Who?)

The problem is that most of them, Republican and Democratic alike, have significant flaws. Some commentators believe, therefore, that the party bosses should seek fresh blood for the next presidential campaign; find the political stars of the future and get them involved.

I happen to think they could do worse than do some vetting of opera characters. HEY, KING-MAKERS: allow me to offer some suggestions. I'd be happy to organize a PAC for any of 'em. Just to show how objective I can be, I'll showcase both their assets and liabilities. How else can you guys make a reasoned decision? You're welcome.

Radames (tenor character in Aida)
STRENGTHS:
Courageous, experienced military leader. Led successful campaign against Ethiopians. Excellent name-recognition among opera fans. Very religious.
WEAKNESSES:
Worships the god "Ptha", making him vulnerable with conservative Christians. His record shows he's susceptible to espionage if the double agent is a beautiful woman.

Macbeth (baritone, title character in Verdi's Shakespearean opera)
STRENGTHS:
Understands politics; willing to do anything to attain office. Expert at dirty tricks.
WEAKNESSES:
Saddled with a wife who appears a little unstable mentally - there are reports of hallucinations. Unlikely to withstand the fishbowl life of First Lady.

Princess Turandot
STRENGTHS:
Big supporter of capital punishment. Tough on crime. She also has the "ghosts-of-executed-princes" vote sewed up; they support her. Also, isn't it apparent we're ready for a female POTUS?
WEAKNESSES:
Her definition of "crime" is pretty much "being a man". And the ghosts represent a very weak voting bloc.

The Grand Inquisitor (bass role in Don Carlo)
STRENGTHS:
As strong-man of the Catholic church (note: he's Christian! That's good, right?), he consistently trumps the power of the King of Spain; quells rebellions from heretics, puts people to death and rules an empire with an iron hand.
WEAKNESSES:
Uh..... actually, the above traits make him more qualified to be an Ayatollah than a president. Never mind.

Sir John Falstaff (baritone, title role in another of Verdi's Shakespearean adaptations)
STRENGTHS:
He's morbidly obese, meaning he's in an excellent position to follow in Mike Huckabee's footsteps with an inspiring weight-loss saga. Also - kind of folksy and likeable.
WEAKNESSES:
Got a little alcohol problem. Okay, a big alcohol problem.

Suor Angelica (title role in Puccini's opera)
STRENGTHS:
Strongly anti-abortion. Background as a botanist, which could make her attractive to environmentalists. Again, ready to be the first woman president. Devout Christian.
WEAKNESSES:
Um, nobody seems to know who her baby-daddy is. Tough to recover from a scandal of this magnitude, although let's face it: WE AMERICANS LOVE A COMEBACK STORY!

Don Ottavio (tenor role in Don Giovanni)
STRENGTHS:
He's a supporter of traditional marriage. He must be; he spends half of every day trying to get his fiancee Donna Anna to step up to the altar and marry him already. Also a champion of justice: he spends the OTHER half of every day vowing to bring down Don Giovanni.
WEAKNESSES:
In a 4-hour opera, he accomplishes NOTHING WHATSOEVER with either of those goals. Instead, he dithers and dallies and stands around. WAIT - forget being president, he'd be perfect for Congress! DON OTTAVIO FOR UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES!!

Wow - I'm good at this!



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