July 31, 2015

The presidential hopefuls debate - OPERA!

In just a few days, the 2016 presidential election cycle kicks into high gear with the first televised debate featuring those hoping to be the Republican nominee. Somehow I doubt that the subject of opera will come up, so as a public service. this post will try to remedy that glaring omission with an imaginary debate on our favorite topic. Long-time Faithful Readers will recall a previous post like this during the last election cycle, so YEP: I'm going to that well again. But with new material!

Donald Trump: talks to orchestras on the phone
(photo by Gage Skidmore)
Oh, and unlike the real event, I'm going to have Republicans AND Democrats participate! Because I can, and also so I can not be accused of picking on one side over another. Naturally, I will act as moderator.

GLENN:
Welcome, everyone! I have the same question for all of you folks tonight, namely: if elected president, what specifically will you do to improve the opera scene in America? Mr. Trump, as you remain atop the Republican polls at this time, I'll begin with you.

DONALD TRUMP
Glenn, I'd just like to say that Peter Gelb is a loser. He's done a terrible job running the Metropolitan Opera, which is the greatest opera company in the world by far. Yet with this clown Gelb making a mess of it - and I like Peter, by the way, he's a great friend - but it's disgraceful that he can't make a go of this business. I could run the Met at a profit with one hand tied behind me. If I ran the Met, people would know that the operas would be first-class all the way and they would support it. The best, most expensive singers all love me and they would line up for the chance to perform in New York. Also the orchestras. I'm personal friends with several orchestras  - I talk to them on the phone all the time and they constantly tell me, "Don, we're voting for you because we know that with you as president, opera will be great."

GLENN
Uh.... orchestras tell you this? On the phone?

DONALD TRUMP
Are you calling me a liar? I will take you to court and sue you.

GLENN
Let's move on. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, how about you? How would you improve American opera?

SCOTT WALKER
First, I'd break up the unions. The musicians unions, the stagehand unions, all of them. Next, I'd cut the budgets of all professional opera companies. Next...

GLENN (interruupting)
Thanks, I think we get the idea. Jeb Bush, it's your turn.

JEB BUSH
¡Hola Glenn! Como ustedes saben, mi esposa es de México. Me gustaría ofrecer amnistía para óperas de compositores mexicanos.

GLENN
You're talking in Spanish...

JEB BUSH
Yes, to show my support for Hispanics and Latinos. As I was just saying, my wife is from Mexico and as President I would offer amnesty for operas by Mexican composers.

GLENN
"Amnesty"?? For... operas?

JEB BUSH
My favorite opera is La Mujer y su sombra by Alcázar. 

DONALD TRUMP
Alcázar? He's an idiot. I'll make sure he can't cross the border. I've got his phone number right here. Also his children's names, his home address and his checking account number. 

GLENN
That'll do, Mr. Trump. You're up, Rick Santorum.

RICK SANTORUM
I would ban the opera Faust by Charles Gounod. And here's why: first of all, Satan is one of the characters. I consider that an assault on religion. People of faith don't need to see Satan glorified in our opera houses.

GLENN
Uh, Senator, I don't think it actually glo-\

RICK SANTORUM (ignoring me)
Second, I saw this opera once. It was offensive. The part of Siebel was portrayed by a female opera singer, and the character was in love with the heroine Marguerite. That's a lesbian lifestyle, and it has no place in our society. I consider it perverted.

GLENN
No, see, this is what we call a "pants role", and.....  you know what? Never mind. Let's hear from Governor Rick Perry. How would you answer the question, sir?

RICK PERRY
I'll tell you one darn thing. If I'm president, the good people of Texas who enjoy the great Houston Grand Opera wouldn't have to worry about the Metropolitan Opera invading us and taking over our productions. No siree bobtail. I also firmly support the open carry of guns in the opera house. People coming to see opera should feel safe. Give the ushers guns, give the stagehands guns, give the conductor-feller a gun, and the audience members as well. Terrorists will think twice about going to the opera if y'all vote for me.

GLENN
Wow. Let's hear from the Democratic hopefuls. Bernie Sanders, how would you improve the American opera scene?

BERNIE SANDERS
Very simple. When I'm in the White House, the government will fully fund opera. All of it. 100% Every opera company. And opera singers will be paid well, with great benefits. We can do away with ticket sales. Let everyone in if they like opera. 

GLENN
Uh huh, I see. Sounds a bit daunting, but you certainly have a great vision there. Hillary Clinton, it's your turn. 

HILLARY CLINTON
May I just say, as a woman who cares passionately about families, and women, and equality, and immigration, and all people everywhere, that I love opera?

GLENN
Mrs. Clinton, isn't that a bit of a flip-flop? I believe there is an email recovered from your private email account in which you say "Opera is like musical Sominex".

HILLARY CLINTON
I deny that I have flip-flopped. I would say that my views on opera have "evolved".

MIKE HUCKABEE (suddenly breaking in)
BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!

GLENN
Mr. Huckabee, let's not get off-topic here.  What's your take on opera?

MIKE HUCKABEE
Glenn, I'm concerned with the unhealthy eating habits that are associated with opera.

GLENN
The what, now?

MIKE HUCKABEE
A number of prominent opera stars are Italian, meaning they bring with them their starchy pastas and fat-laden pizzas. Americans are eating themselves to death with this un-American, fattening diet. Wake up, America! I will teach folks how to save their lives with good, healthy eating habits.

GLENN
Gotcha. Okay, we're almost done, but I did want to hear from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Senator? Uh........... where is he?

REPRESENTATIVE
The senator is running a bit late. Again. How about some Andrews Sisters music while we wait?

GLENN
I'll pass, thanks.






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