Honestly? The request is obviously ridiculous. An aria - a proper aria - takes hours to write and rehearse, first with the piano and then with the orchestra. After that, the other members of the cast (and the chorus) need to be aware that it's coming - not to mention the lighting people, and the stage manager ... and then they'd need to print the programs again, to make sure the audience know that it's coming ...
Meanwhile, I think the conductor (who is also the composer) has more important things on his mind!!!
And this guy wants all this done in a few hours? Typical prima donna.
He reminded me of one or two prima donnas that I had the misfortune to work with. One especially was a nightmare. He had a fine tenor voice and was our principal tenor for two years or so, but he was a pathological liar, insulted members of the chorus and other principals backstage, and - worse - he was also a racist, misogynistic pig. Still, all the audience could see was his beautiful looks, his charming stage persona and his dulcet tenor tones, so ... bleh.
It all came to a head when we were running a season of Lehar's The Merry Widow. Backstage, this guy told one of the leading ladies (who was Jewish) that she had a big hooked nose, that she was (in his words) a "filthy Jew", and that "Hitler should have finished the job". (His words, not mine). I'd done my own make-up and dressing-up, and I happened to be passing, so I was furious with him and told him to back off. He started pushing me around, which got the attention of our stage manager (who is also Jewish). Anyway ... to cut a long story short, we finished the run of the play, but the company blackballed him and never invited him back again. Good riddance.
Anyway, if you'd like to see a more pleasant form of prima donna ... I'd urge you to rent or find (maybe in the library?) a copy of the film "Topsy Turvy", directed by Mike Leigh. It tells the story of how Gilbert and Sullivan created "The Mikado", their most popular play - and it sticks faithfully to the true story of how it happened, which makes me very happy.
As for the prima donna bit: before opening night, Gilbert made some cuts. This was usual for him, but he cut the Mikado's solo (and the Mikado only has one solo - see here for the chorus bit leading up to his solo). The Mikado, played by Rutland Barrington (who, in the movie, is played by Timothy Spall), was naturally upset by this, and appealed to Gilbert to restore the song, but Gilbert said no.
Here's the touching bit. Just before the show, the entire chorus of men and women appealed to Gilbert: please, please restore the song. It's a good song, and Rutland does it so well. Well ... Gilbert re-considered, and said yes - and everyone was happy! That song - "A More Humane Mikado Never Did In Japan Exist" - went on to become one of the best known Gilbert-and-Sullivan songs from the show. Even better, that scene (of the chorus appealing to Gilbert) also made it into the film. (Yay!)
So yes, if you're interested in light opera or the theatre, do yourself a favour and see if you can find "Topsy Turvy".
Just so you know, though: there is a scene, early in the film, which is definitely not-safe-for-work or for kids. Sullivan visits, and is entertained in, a brothel in Paris. In reality, Sullivan did exactly that - but this scene is at least R-rated. However, the rest of the film is definitely G-rated and can be enjoyed by the whole family, kids included. So if you have kids, make sure to skip that scene.
Thank you for the translation, BBP! It makes much more sense now.BBP wrote: ↑Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:05 amThere was a release of the English translation but never of the opera libretto. Because of this I didn't bother to translate it in my script or on my page. The German isn't as fluent to me and there are a few bits where I wonder if that's really what's been said.
There's also Hildegunde's mother whose piercing voice is so tough to understand the back-translators of the libretto didn't even bother.