“Figaro’s Wake”

  Opera in III Acts  

(One of them unnatural; One against the state)

Music based on the Lieder of Gustav Mahler and Alice in Chains 

Libretto by Urspo

Drama Personae

Someone (baritone)

Urspo (tenor, and countertenor – in a pinch)

Harper (dramatic soprano)

James Evelyn Hoffman, an evil gnome who lives in the backyard.

Renee Fleming

Rene Pape (no relation to Renee Fleming)

Minions, boy-toys, landscapers, and some trash in the back

Act I

Harper is at the open door, singing various Puccini arias to passers-by.  Someone is on the couch, snoring an ostinato (in E-flat). Urspo, the hero, is in the kitchen. He longs to go to Palm Springs for a life of gaiety and sunshine, but the evil gnome James Evelyn Hoffman has enchanted the house, creating so many needed repairs they thwart such an adventure. Spo laments his fate and makes some tea singing ‘the tea aria’. Someone wakes up and in a duet they argue whose turn it is to take out the trash.  They depart, taking Diva Dog for a walk. She tries to sing Musetta’s waltz but is discouraged when Someone and Spo do it better. JEH throws a curse from the backyard, causing Spo’s Runkeeper not to record the length of the stroll. The act ends and everyone goes to the lobby to drink and to cruise.

Act II

It is night. Spo spurns the advances of the Scruff suitors as he waits for the arrival of Someone, who is watching “Law and Order”.  Spo is paged (Aria: “Verdamnte Arbeit!”); Someone snuggles on the couch with Diva Dog. Spo retires to his chambers, humming “Somewhere my love lies sleeping” with an all male chorus.


The next morning.  After a night of strange dreams, Urspo wakes to discover he has been transformed into a giant cockroach. Wotan comes down from Valhalla and plays twenty questions with him, and Someone gets the ring. Diva Dog pees on James Evelyn and the curse is lifted. Renee Fleming arrives from The Met to walk Harper while Spo embraces Renee Pape (Aria: “Ah! Sweet mystery of life!”)  The opera ends with the death of the minions, who are shot, stabbed, poisoned, burned, drowned, buried alive, thrown off of towers, guillotined, or dragged down into hell.

The End.