November 24, 2013

Random things that are probably a waste of your time but you should still read


  • I have given up on my dream of becoming the world's only living castrato. I now realize I'm not cut out for it. Haw.
  • But if I DID become a castrato, I know what my stage name would be: "Fidel Castrato". That's stage-name GENIUS, folks.
If you listen closely, you can almost hear it singing.
(Graphic by Paul Robinson, used with permission)
  • Did you hear about the Singing Hot Dog Man who got fired? And YES, smarty-pants, this IS related to the opera world. Because the Singing Hot Dog Man sings OPERATICALLY, that's why. The SHDM, otherwise known as Charley Mancuse, pitched tubular sandwiches for fifteen years at Detroit Tigers' baseball games. In his apprentice years, SHDM was perhaps content just to bellow "GIT YER RED HOTS!" like all the other hot dog men in this great nation. But destiny had a different plan for Charley Mancuso. According to a blatantly self-promotional video on YouTube, an appearance by the Three Tenors at the baseball stadium gave Charley a vision. He heard these guys singing very loudly and, apparently, thought "I, Charley Mancuse, can also sing loudly! I will now sell hot dogs singing very loudly!" Was Charley any good? Was he blessed with native talent like some American Caruso? Should we feel deprived that his prime years were frittered away on behalf of the Oscar Meyer corporation rather than belting out "Nessun dorma"?
  • Uh... no. We shouldn't. Having listened to a sample of SHDM's schtick on the video, I will save you the trouble of doing the same and simply report that he sounds like the Cowardly Lion auditioning for the role of Radames. Through a bullhorn. We are given no details on the reason for SHGM's dismissal. Had age and the lack of proper training resulted in decreased range and the beginnings of a wobble in sustained passages of yelling "hot dog"? Or was there a general sense that he was even more annoying than Flo, the Progressive Insurance lady on TV? We may never know.
  • If SHDM (in case you've already forgotten, that's the acronym for "Singing Hot Dog Man". Try to pay attention.) ever wants to attempt a comeback, I know what might be the perfect vehicle. If the Kellogg's corporation of Battle Creek, Michigan decides to shoot an update re-make of the famous vintage TV commercial for Rice Krispies, I think that's an assignment that SHDM could hit out of the park. (See what I did there? Baseball metaphor? Boom.)
  • In other random time-wasting topics, some of you Faithful Readers will know that my employers at Virginia Opera like to refer to me in public as "Doc Opera", hoping (probably in vain) to sell people on the idea that "opera-folk aren't stuffy! Golly, no! They're warm and human, just like the kindly family doctor who dandled you on his knee in your idyllic childhood years!" And darn it, I am warm and human, once you get to know me. BUT - did you know there is also a "twisted rock opera" by those notorious rock stars "Fred and Ferd" called Dropera? HAH! You DIDN'T! GOTCHA!! According to the relevant Wikipedia article, Dropera was released as a concept album in 1991. The piece is said to relate the " surreal adventure of two diners in a French restaurant involving abduction, an aircraft crash, death and re-awakening". Actually, given the state of contemporary opera stagings these days, I fully expect that the next production of Carmen by the Dresden Staatsoper will stage the opera as the surreal adventure of two diners in a French restaurant involving abduction, an aircraft crash, death and re-awakening. That will make it original. And meaningful. 
  • How come there are no operas in which the guy dies of consumption? Since when was TB a girls' disease? Just asking...

1 comment:

  1. Uh, Glenn... I was watching the James Bond Marathon on SyFy on Thanksgiving Day, and in "Die Another Day" (the one with Halle Berry), one of the characters made reference to "Fidel Castrato"... I make no intimations of plagiarism, I think it is a clear-cut case of two great minds thinking alike - or, rather, one great mind and a James Bond scriptwriter.

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