Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Mimisms: Mr. Dreamy and The Birdman

"Miss Pencil Skirt, you will sing the Mozart."
"I will sing the Mozart what? ""You will sing First Lady in the Mozart....

"The Magic Flute First Lady?"
"But I didn't audition for the First Lady, Second Lady or even Third!! "

"Miss Pencil Skirt, you will sing the First Lady in the Magic Flute."

Alrighty then.

While I've previously told the beginnings of this tale in other blog posts, I never led you down the most embarrassing rabbit hole. Sure I got stuck in the ladies room while socialites eating Chicken Cordon Bleu waited on the soprano-that-never-was. Sure I nearly caused the conductor to have a stroke right then and there in his black and white choker thing. Sure I slid out of a pick-up truck in a black puffy evening gown in downtown metropolis just in the nick of time to arrive for the downbeat (oops, no I never told that one)....and all because of the Magic Flute and my propensity for coloratura.
And more ditz than any soprano ought be born with.

It's a gift.

"But ne'er did I tell - until today - of the day I led the first act of Mozart's masterpiece down an I-Love-Lucy trail of comedy that wasn't in the score.
This time I heard, "Miss Pencil Skirt, the Flute quintet will be the guinea pigs for the new opera director's audition master class on Tuesday. He would like to get a position at this school. Just follow his direction. You will sing First Lady."

Here we go again.
I never knew in these instances if he truly chose the best singers, someone chose the short straw, or if he knew my participation in said master class audition would present the candidate with sufficient "challenges" ....shall we say. Trial by fire? Send Pencil Skirt.

Today I would be singing a coloratura role with my usual shades of ever-changing lyric soprano - with an F above high C thank you very much - for the poor soul who had to direct me and my crew. And his job depended on my ability to follow his direction and his ability to figure out how he was going to best dole it out. He needed to impress. I needed to pay attention.
And it didn't help my pencil brain any that Mr. Opera Candidate was drop-dead gorgeous and dripping with charisma. I was a tad distracted you might say.
(He looked a bit like Belgian director Nicholas Lens seen here but I digress.)

Where was I?
You see, it is the God-given duty of the First Lady to present the "magic flute" to the Prince. Not the Duke, not the Earl, Not the Duchess, Not even the Queen of the Night. She gets to sing "The Vengeance Of Hell Boils In My Heart" (doesn't that sound divine??!) while hanging in the air in all her glory. See?

I so hated her.

I didn't get to do the fun stuff like that.
I just had to pass the flute to Prince Tamino. That was my job. It was bad enough that Mozart named his characters nearly identically and some were females portraying males and some were males portraying birds (!) There was Pamina. Pamino. Tamina. Tamino. Filipino. Filipina. And Palamino (I just made those last 3 up.)

How was I supposed to keep all that straight??!
But we all knew who had the most important part, don't we?
That's right. Moi.

And I took it seriously. I had the sole responsibility of forwarding the storyline by ceremoniously presenting the subject of the entire opera (the magic flute that can change men's hearts) to the Prince - who stood on my left.

And that's exactly what I intended to do.

After about fourteen changes in direction and a couple of winks from Director Dreamy I finally held the flute in my hand. I sang my part. I flourished. I climbed the scale. I skipped scales altogether. I made up scales. I relished. I embellished. I tripped tra-la-las. I sang. I smiled. And then I turned.
To the right.

And what do I see? Papageno The Birdman - who is in a cage covered from head to toe with bird feathers on his hands and knees with a large padlock glued to his mouth for telling a lie. You'd think I'd get a clue but nooooo.....So I presented the marvelous magic flute to The Birdman "Papageno" who cannot accept it because he's a little busy with the padlock and chains.

I am not in the clip below. This is UCONN's 2007 Magic Flute Quintet. At about marker 1:30 I made my blunder except she was going in the wrong - or right -direction, depending on her level of common sense.

Where was I? (which is a question I should have long ago asked...)
Picture this: He had no hands with which to receive said flute. The poor baritone on his knees could only grunt and motion with his eyes and head for me to turn around. I thought he was acting very strangely indeed.

Oh. But I did not care.
I sang. I flourished. I scaled. I climbed. I soared. I was full of myself I was.
Oh. Did I tell you that the entire music faculty looked upon this spectacle of brilliance? Not one of my professors, not two, not three, not four....but all of them.

And The Dean.

Can someone say bye-bye music scholarship?

Well, after about 30 seconds of disgust and and amazement from the doomed director and the singer who somehow managed not to swallow the prop in his mouth, the accompanist stopped playing and the entire room broke into laughter. It was a moment.

And one I never want to live again.
Baritone bird had a word of prayer with me right then and there . "Didn't it give you a clue, Miss Pencil Skirt, that I was on my knees in a cage? Do I look like a Prince to you??!" ....

He did have a point.

By then the entire cast lost focus and nearly fell in the floor laughing - including me. Who knew there was comedy in the middle of Act I?

And to think that I am still looking for my Prince.

Some things never change.


Mimi Lenox said...

P.S. - He did get the job and went on to direct me in other productions. Next week I'll tell you about the nun fiasco.
I'm so glad I didn't ruin his career.

Finding Pam said...

What a vision of You with the antics of Lucille Ball! LOL!

So glad he got the job.

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

What a story! And such a riot. It's a classic...

Mimi Lenox said...

Pam - I didn't do it on purpose. Oh, but it was just crazy.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bud - Oh it was something alright...

Sue said...

I shall now and forever imagine you trilling and heading in the wrong direction when I hear that part of the opera!

skywind said...

Oh, has been full of the evil spirit imaginary charm.
Health information & Humor & Fun World


Sounds just fascinating...especially compared to the flat-line-funeral, where I found my Self sitting in the pew sandwiched between the elderly set. The couple in front tooting like fire crackers on Chinese New Year and the crowd in back setting off a round of mustard gas. All while the main speakers read every single syllable right of the written page. Every eye in the house...dry.

And me trying to muffle my giggles.

Travis said...

I pictured a little bald headed man with a monocle, gesturing with a large baton and shouting in a loud voice, "Achtung! You vil zing ze Virst Lady fraulein!"

Smorg said...

Ah! But, your majesty, at least you correctly identified the hottest male in the cast! I could never understand how Tamino is supposed to be the primo uomo of that Singspiel. He's such an uninteresting snob most of the time. Papageno is the dude that gets all the cool music! :o)

Charles Gramlich said...

Didn't do it on purpose eh? How come so much turmoil always starts that way? ;)

Bond said...

So what is the final count for performances 'enhanced' by the Queen?

Akelamalu said...

He has you to thank for his success! ;)

Jamie said...

OH Queen Mimi of the Pencil Skirt, I am rolling on the much notated floor in guffaws. This was not only an hilarious tale on its own, but it brought back a memory of being in High School, new in town, and having a drama teacher throw me into the role of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie with almost equal results. That story will be decorated with jonquils.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sue - I am sorry I ruined the opera for you!

Mimi Lenox said...

Teri - I can just see you now! You did blog it, didn't you?
How funny...oops. I'm not supposed to laugh at funerals.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - You're not far off the mark...

Mimi Lenox said...

Smorg - I never liked the Tamino's character and yet we were all supposed to be fawning over him. He was a pompous fella. Birdman, on the other hand, had wonderfully comedic music and antics. I'd much rather play that role (well, not me...but you know what I mean).

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - It's a gift (smile)

Mimi Lenox said...

Bond - There will never be a final count m'dear. You should know that by now.

Mimi Lenox said...

Akelamlau - Now that was funny.
Are you sure you're not Lucille Ball??

Mimi Lenox said...

Jamie - She did not! That must have been a sight. Tell me you are going to blog it. I want to hear the tale of Jamie In The Glass Menagerie.

Ferd said...

There has to be some predictive, redeeming value to all this. The universe can't put you through such an embarrassing moment without good reason! Ha!

I think maybe it means that you shouldn't be looking for a prince. You should be looking for a birdman! Maybe a guy with a beaky nose, or birdlegs. Or a guy that lays eggs. Something like that.

Mojo said...

"...more ditz than a soprano ought to be born with." Really? I did not realize there was such a thing.

But truly... how could they have expected you to sing a role so completely out of character? What with all that vengeance boiling and so on... why, the First Lady could not be more your polar opposite. SO if they got that so totally backward, doesn't it then follow that you'd get all turned around yourself? which would not only explain the entire episode, but absolve you from all blame.

Who looks out for ya better'n me, huh?

Cogitator said...

What a wooonderful story. I laughed out loud. Thank you so much!

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - You are so funny.

Mimi Lenox said...

Mojo - No one!

Mimi Lenox said...

Cogitator - You are so welcome. If you laughed and smiled today then I've done my job.

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