Friday, January 27, 2012

Lucia di Lammermoor Summary

It's that time again, in which the writer publishes a brilliant distillation of one of your favorite operas. Today's victim, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

Act 1
Enrico: Edgardo is a jerk. I hate him. A lot.
Normanno: Yeah, your sister's dating him.
Enrico: Neewww.

Lucia: I saw a freaky apparition, but Edgardo is awesome.
Edgardo: I am awesome. But I have run some errands for the king of France, so...
Lucia: You'll sigh your love to the wind?
Alisa: (I'm out of here.)
Edgardo: You can bet your marbles on it.

Lucia sees a freaky apparition

Enrico: Marry Arturo.
Lucia: But he's all short and second-tenorish.
Enrico: But he's rich—I mean he's *sich* a great guy. And look at this letter showing Edgardo's gone off with some other chick.
Lucia: Guisto ceil!
Enrico: Anywho, marry Arturo or else.
Raimondo: It's probably a good plan. Probably.
Lucia: Fine.

Chorus: We're a happy chorus.
Arturo: I'm pretty happy too.
Chorus: But our collective happiness is better.

Lucia: I'm signing this contract, even though I'd rather die. Just saying.
Edgardo: I'm back from France!—oh stink.
Lucia/Alisa/Edgardo/Arturo/Enrico/Raimondo: (Emotions.)
Edgardo: Traitor.
Lucia: It's not my fault! (Faints.)

Scotsmen are much more emotional when they sing in Italian

Act 2
Edgardo: Duel me.
Enrico: Okay.

Chorus: We're still collectively pleased with the proceedings of this opera, you'll note.
Raimondo: Cease your merriment. Lucia went mad!
Chorus: Dear me.
Raimondo: She also stabbed her husband and—but look, here she comes.
Chorus: O giusto ceilo!
Lucia: Edgardo is awesome, and we're getting married. Woah, phantom. You know how awesome Edgardo is? This awesome. Snap, I'm going to die. Please leave me flowers.

Lucia goes mad for a while

Edgardo: Where's Lucia?
Raimondo: Heaven, alas. If only she hadn't listened to me.
Edgardo: Neewww! I will join her. (Stabs himself.) See you in heaven, Lucia!
Men's Chorus: What an idiot!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Thousandth Man by R. Kipling

This poem caught my attention while I was catching up on my emails from The Art of Manliness.  It expresses noble sentiments that get swept under the rug by feminists these days.  (Wait, was it sexist to imply feminists use brooms?)

The Thousandth Man
By Rudyard Kipling

One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it’s worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.

‘Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for ‘ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em go
By your looks or your acts or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don’t matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he’s worth ‘em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong’s your wrong, and his right’s your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men’s sight—
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can’t bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot—and after!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Norma Synopsis

It's Opera Synopsis Sunday, wherein the clever writer distills a great opera down into its core essence:

Music by Vincenzo Bellini
Libretto by Felice Romani

The Chorus of Druids complains about the government.  Pollione, the head Roman, later enters and complains about his love life.  The priestess Norma enters after he leaves; she says a prayer and complains about her love life.  The Chorus is still not happy about the government.  Once they're gone, Adalgisa enters, says a prayer, and complains about her love life.  Pollione enters and convinces her to run away with him.

Norma says a prayer to get the chorus to shut up about politics

Norma freaks out.  Adalgisa enters wondering if she can break her promise of chastity.  Norma knows it's possible to do without permission, so she figures she may as well grant Adalgisa freedom.  Pollione enters.  Norma freaks out.  Adalgisa, once she figures out they're both in love with the same guy, also freaks out.  They all get overwrought.  When the chorus is heard offstage complaining about the government, Pollione runs away.

Norma freaks out, almost killing her kids.  Adalgisa enters and tries to be nice.  It works.  

Norma and Adalgisa, BFFs

The Chorus is still griping about the government.  Norma finds out that Pollione is trying to abduct Adalgisa.  She freaks out and calls for war.  The Chorus merrily obliges.  Pollione is captured, and Norma confesses her guilt so they can die together.  Pollione decides Norma was actually pretty cool after all.