Posts Tagged ‘Opera Humor’

Musical Fictoids

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

One month ago, The Washington Post Style Invitational challenged us to create “fictoids — totally bogus trivia — about music and the music world.” Having worked as an oboist for many years, I couldn’t possibly resist such a contest. So I’m posting all my entries, one of which earned an Honorable Mention.

I’m curious as to which of mine is your favorite. And of course feel free to make up your own musical trivia in my comment section, and to guess which of my musical fictoids won that Honorable Mention. (I reveal my winning fictoid at the end of this post — upside down to make it harder to cheat. :)

Here are my entries:

  • Greedy J.S. Bach descendants tried to patent his Two and Three-Part Inventions.
  • Antonio Vivaldi once sued himself for plagiarism … and won.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” (from his Symphony No. 9) was originally entitled “Oy, Oy, Oy.”
  • The world premiere of Verdi’s “Aida” ended in tragedy when the lead soprano accidentally crushed an elephant to death.
  • Female harp players are so loathsome, that shrewish women are now referred to as harpies.
  • For several years during George W. Bush’s presidency, the Dallas Symphony’s concert programs id’ed its brass section as trumpets, trombones, tubas, and Texas shorthorns.
  • Composers George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach were all so impoverished, they died of starvation. Hence, the name “Baroque composers.”
  • Famed French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal never appeared on stage without a chilled glass of champagne. That’s why flautists are now known as flutists.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven didn’t actually go deaf; he just pretended to be deaf because his wife and mother-in-law were so annoying.
  • In a 1980 New York Philharmonic April Fools’ Day performance of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, flutist Julius Baker and harpist Ursula Holliger played each other’s instruments. The New York Times proclaimed theirs the best ever performance of the work.
  • The Eastman School of Music was known as the Polaroid School of Music, until Kodak’s George Eastman won it in poker game.

And my Honorable Mention-winning entry is:

˙ɥʇɐǝp oʇ ʇuɐɥdǝןǝ uɐ pǝɥsnɹɔ ʎןןɐʇuǝpıɔɔɐ ouɐɹdos pɐǝן ǝɥʇ uǝɥʍ ʎpǝƃɐɹʇ uı pǝpuǝ ”ɐpıɐ“ s’ıpɹǝʌ ɟo ǝɹǝıɯǝɹd pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ

Operatic Acrostic Limerick

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Operatic Acrostic Limerick
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Oh that tenor who’s playing the king
Pierces eardrums while trying to sing.
Easy notes he should reach
Really readily screech,
As we grab some bananas to fling.

(Prompted by Acrostic Only)

If you’d like to read the opera-related humor column that won me the 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award For Humor, here’s my Guide For The Opera Impaired.

Operatic Limerick

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I hope you’ll join me in writing a limerick with this first line:

An eccentric soprano named Brett…

Here’s the limerick I wrote with that line. (It’s a three-verser, but a standard one-verse limerick is fine, of course.)

Operatic Limerick
By Madeleine Begun Kane

An eccentric soprano named Brett
Auditioned to sing at the Met.
Her Lucia was bad,
So the maestro got mad
And attempted to throw her off set.

She screamed, “You do not know the score.
I was meant to perform Lammermoor.
The problem’s your flute,
And my voice is a beaut!
Your reviewers will call me top drawer.”

“You shall never perform on this stage,”
The conductor replied, red with rage.
“Your coloratura
Is missing bravura.
And your farts! You belong in a cage!”

Please feel free to write your own limerick using the same first line and post it in my comments. And if you’re on Facebook, I hope you’ll join my friends in that same activity in my Limerick-Offs.

Related Post: Guide To The Opera Impaired

UPDATE: Opera Day is February 8.

Sparring Over Spare Time

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Do you and your spouse argue about how to spend your spare time? Togetherness can be tough to achieve when a couple’s interests just don’t jibe. But this contract may be just the cure for your spare time blues.

AGREEMENT entered into on _____, 20__ between opera-buff Wife and sports-fan Husband.

WHEREAS, Husband has been badgering Wife to attend a ball game for as long as they’ve been married, and he has never managed to reach first base;

WHEREAS, Wife has been pressuring Husband to go to the opera for years, and Husband is running out of excuses; and

WHEREAS, Husband and Wife know that if they don’t resolve this soon, each will be attending all functions solo.

NOW, THEREFORE, the parties hereby agree to the following spare time terms:

    1. Wife will attend one ball-type game, the selection of which shall be in Husband’s sole discretion, and Husband will attend one opera performance, the selection of which shall be in Wife’s sole discretion. In exercising such discretion, both spouses will keep in mind that divorce lawyers are really expensive … (Sparring Over Spare Time is continued here.)