singing-smileyI dislike violence in television or movies but move it to opera and violence becomes entertaining. Watching people being shot, stabbed, poisoned, burned, drowned, buried alive, thrown off towers, guillotined, or dragged down to hell is quite exciting, thank you very much.

I know a few fellows (many well over four feet but admittedly light in the loafers) who lip synch this or that goddess-diva when her tunes are playing. I reenact opera scenes. Although I am probably a baritone I like to mime the dramatic sopranos especially the ‘tweety-bird roles”. Someone is probably tired of my frequent renditions of Sister Constance in the ‘laundry scene’ from “Dialogues of the Carmelites” which I do when ironing shirts.  Musetta’s waltz is in my repertoire and frequently performed, as is Violetta (cough cough).  When I want to be more butch, I tackle “Wotan’s farewell” – which I actually sing much to the chagrin of the dog it makes her ears hurt.*

It is a perversity of mine whenever I need cheering up I listen to the second act of Strauss’ “Salome”. For thems who don’t know this ditty, “Salome” is 90 minute long toe-tapper based on the Bible story. Salome dances for King Herod and demands as payment the head of John the Baptist. The opera is an encyclopedia of psychopathology. Salome seems to be what we shrinks call ‘a stone borderline”.  The ‘highlight’ is Salome rolling around the stage making out with John’s severed head “I have finally kissed you on the mouth!”  One wonders if she has become psychotic and  she doesn’t see him as actually dead. She’s then executed for being ‘ein Ungeheur” (an abominable monster).

Jolly good fun.

Most of my opera karaoke is best done ‘home alone’ lest I upset other’s equilibrium. It is a personal pleasure and like most of life’s great pleasures they should be done behind closed doors, in private.**

As I age my virtual tessitura seems to be deepening and I need to move on to more mezzo-soprano roles. They usually play the bad bitches. It’s a stretch but I can do that.


*Harper prefers Puccini

** Palm Springs being an exception.