Monday, July 16, 2007

Do You Speak Opera?

"Quanto?" ("Okay, you vicious, power-mad sleazebag, how much do I have to fork over?")

"Quanto?" ("What do you mean, how much? I don't know what you're talking about. Nice tits, by the way. Mua ha ha ha ha.")

"Il prezzo!" ("Don't play dumb with me! How much do I have to bribe you not to have my lover killed, you evil, corrupt pervert I'd rather do off-Broadway than go to bed with, even though your menacing charm and your dark, intense musical motif actually make you extremely sexy in a villainous way, and the tenor is probably gay anyhow.")

If there's one thing I've learned from opera, it's how to read between the lines.

Listening to opera is a good hobby to revisit when home alone. Not that I don't enjoy sharing it with other people, it's just that nobody else in my house likes it. So this weekend I sat and listened through my CDs of "Tosca," "Turandot," and "Don Giovanni." The intrigue! The passion! The despair! Grand opera still gives me goosebumps. I ate, slept and breathed this stuff when I was growing up. I used to wander around the house warbling "Caro Nome." I dreamed of being Mimi, Isolde, Carmen, Senta, Baby Doe.

My stepfather also had grand operatic aspirations, though he'd already found a calling as a computer jock: perhaps not as glamorous, but a better fit in that it doesn't involve so much singing. He used to wander around the house warbling "Che Gelida Manina" or "Nessun Dorma." But he'd generally stop when you covered your ears and dove under the furniture.

I really miss that aspect of my childhood. My whole family loved opera. And when I was little and we didn't have such newfangled devices as the VCR, or cable, it was a major occasion when the local PBS affiliate would air a performance: it would be simulcast on the radio and we'd all gather around and watch together and it was wonderful, just wonderful, except for my stepfather's singing.

My kids never caught the bug. It's sad. They could learn all the major European languages; they could study Italian for years. They could even grow up and move off to Florence or Venice or Milan. But they'll never understand what "E avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma!" means.

It means, "Who's your mama, BIATCH!"



At July 16, 2007 7:25 PM, Blogger dreadpir8roberts said...

Hmm. Babelfish has a slightly different translation. I guess it is open for intrepretation.

Have you looked more in to the Chorus?

At July 18, 2007 1:08 AM, Anonymous SpeakerToProgrammers said...

"My stepfather also had grand operatic aspirations"



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