BREAKING: Opera Enjoyed by All

The NYT’s ace scribe Bernard “Scoop” Holland breathlessly spills his latest discoveries about that newfangled entertainment called “opera” today. Didja know, for example, that a lot of opera is long and boring, but there’s this one opera called Cavalleria rusticana that’s not as long as most (” it’s the only opera I know that may be too short”)?

Cav, which Mr. Holland types “acts like a single, sweeping transitive verb,” has a lot in common with Pagliacci, if you overlook that elusive transitive quality. “Both pieces,” Holland confides, “concern triangular adultery. . . . Both leave behind a sufficient number of dead bodies.”

Trifles, really. “Indeed, if these pieces can lay any claim to deep thinking, it is that they are at once celebrations of tabloid brutality and of a bygone theatrical artifice since supplanted by machines, the wonders of electricity and the lessened imaginations of spectators.”

Holland then rips the lid off the secret of “famous” Franco Zeffirelli‘s success as a stage designer (“upscale tastes”), though he is maybe a little disappointed at Zeffirelli’s “tame” set for this double bill. Alas, the original designs for gold and marble slums paved in mother-of-pearl cobblestones must have got lost in the mail.

Oh, there were some singers too. Holland lavishes an adjective each on the leads.


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