Monday, September 3


Radio Free Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

The Shrine's beloved TV affiliate, HWTN (Holy Whapping Television Network) has recently acquired the moribund Radio Free Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a former outreach of the Propaganda Fide that, after an unsuccessful attempt to broadcast anti-Lutheran news during the Thirty Years War, pretty much crumbled in 1676 and has been playing a continuous loop of Archangelo Corelli's Baroque Elevator Grossi Concerti for the past three centuries. So, to commemorate the occasion, we are kicking off the grand inauguration of the new station building in Meissen (the old one was recently burnt down by a bigoted anti-harpischordist mob) with a marathon of justifiably ignored opera arias from the past two hundred years. Highlights will include:

The Catalogue Aria from Salieri's infamous Donald Giovanni, about a philandering regional sales manager in Wilmington, Delaware. In this charming air, Don's irritated and overworked assistant, Leoporello, complains about the 1,003 Pottery Barn fliers he has received this month alone, not to mention the 231 J. Crew advertisements, though he's only had to deal with a mere 91 mailings from Abercrombie and Fitch.

Batter, batter, hey, Masetto. Also from Donald Giovanni, after Don attempts to seduce the lovely and virtuous temp Zerlina at the company softball game, thus inciting the jealousy of her enormous retired linebacker husband Masetto, she taunts her spouse with infield chatter as Giovanni steps up to the plate.

Knotty Journal, Fatty Car, the opening number of this timeless opera, in which Leoporello polishes up his resume on company time, trying to decide whether to send it to the offices of Rope Monthly or Weight Watcher's Annual Auto-Buying Guide.

Sempre Paratus. It is a nearly unknown fact in opera buff circles that La Traviata was originally meant to be about maritime search-and-rescue operations, but the lead diva refused to appear on stage wearing a sailor hat because it made her look like a pekingese. In this early version of Sempre libera, Violetta Valery sings her determination to defy Victorian convention by being the first courtesan to join the Italian Coast Guard.

La Donna e Mobile (translated literally, Donna is a Large Hanging Piece of Balanced Metal). From Verdi's Dadaist and largely unsuccessful late-in-life operetta (using heavily recycled tunes) The Hamburger that Ate Washington about the construction of the modernist West Wing of the National Gallery in Washington D.C., nearsighted architect I.M. Pei sings about his astonished discovery that the woman he is in love with is in fact a colossal piece of welded sculpture by Alexander Calder.

Se vuol bowlare (If you want to bowl, my dear little Count), from Le Eight Lanes di Figaro, an extremely loose adaptation of Beumarchais's The Guilty Mother written by Paisiello as revenge on Rossini, in which Figaro faces down the still-libidinous count at the Almaviva Bowling Alley, with the prize as Susanna.

Key Largo al Factotum. Another piece from Paisiello's notorious Le Eight Lanes, Figaro sings about how indispensible he is now that he has has just opened up a barber shop in South Florida.

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