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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 Proof the World is Hopelessly Dopey

Here is further proof (as if we needed it) that the world is getting dopier by the second:

Some people are preparing an opera about the life of Anna Nicole Smith.

Let's rewind and play that again, just so we can get our brains wrapped around the concept.

Some people (two guys in England, actually) are preparing an opera (you know - entertainment that supposedly is the class of the league) about Anna Nicole Smith (the deceased model/celebrity/parade balloon whose name, it may safely be said, never before appeared in a sentence with the phrase "class of the league.").

I think this is the time where we mutter among ourselves about things going to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks in a handcart.

I love opera, and have since my high school days when a teacher introduced me to Wagner's Ring, the four-opera cycle that takes days to hear in its entirety, or seven minutes if you go by the Bugs Bunny version (Kill Da Wabbit). To a kid who liked superhero comic books and loud music, its blend of German myth and musical bombast was almost like finding religion. I couldn't overlook the fact that Wagner was a loathsome human being where the subjects of race and Judaism are concerned. Still, I have to give the man his due and thanks for providing the portal through which I went on to discover Rossini, Verdi, Puccini and all the other composers who have pizza restaurants named after them.

OK, now back to Anna Nicole.

Opera is certainly a good place to find larger-than-life characters, and I am not just talking about rotund tenors and supersized sopranos. Neither am I talking about wandering souls redeemed by love, heroic lovers or lovable buffoons. I'm talking about characters that would make you clap your hands over your ears if you knew what they were singing.

Where misbehavers are concerned, the opera stage provides, to put it mildly, some lulus. Don Giovanni goes to hell for his wicked, wicked ways. Salome does things Anna Nicole wouldn't have thought of at her nastiest. Lieutenant Pinkerton is a rat fink senior grade, Carmen is nothing but trouble and Iago is pure evil.

But as bad as they might be, not a one is a trailer-trash bimbo who put her surgically enhanced goodies on display to a startled world, married a gazillionaire six times her age, and parlayed it all into one of those painful-to-watch displays of ignorance and ego known as the celebrity reality show.

And then she died young, from that most prosaic killer of the tragically trashy, an overdose.

Oh well. One man's tragic trash is another man's opera, it would seem. Maybe in their day the heroes and heroines of the classics were, in their ways, just as trashy as Anna Nicole. But I don't think anyone is ever going to think of her as Liu, the doomed servant girl who dies for love in Turandot.

The crew working on the Anna Nicole opera is the same one that did the Jerry Springer opera few years ago. I wonder where they get their inspiration. You know, I'm beginning to think they need to upgrade from basic cable. And to spend more time watching cartoons. A little Kill Da Wabbit might do them some good.

 

 

 

© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.