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Siegfried and Brunnhilde

Anna Nicole Smith has been raised from the dead–as an opera.

I cannot speak intelligently about what makes for a good opera or not, so I summoned my friends Siegfried and Brunnhilde from the Halls of the Slain and asked them for their opinion about Mark Anthony-Turnage’s latest opera, Anna Nicole, which premiered this week at the Royal Opera House in London.

“Ho-ho, Ho-hei!” Siegfried stepped away from the forge and wiped his mighty brow. His tenor voice bellowing across the forest of my imagination. “Nothing pleases me more than heroic tales of honor and valor. Anna Nicole is not worthy of Valhalla, and I will cast her into Hel with my spear and magic helmet! Ho-ho, ha-hei! Ho-ho, ha-hei!”  Siegfried returned to his forge, hammering the lance which he would use to slay the newborn opera.

“Oh Siegfried,” sang Brunnhilde, “waker of my heart, my conquering light, truer words have never been spoken by man or god. What curse will the gods lay upon mortal man’s ears? An opera about Paris Hilton?”

“Ho-ho, ho-hei! Dark to me are your words, sweet Brunnhilde! Now, Carmen was a wondrous opera! O! The sensual melodies that gladden the song! Ho-ho, ha-hei!”

The soprano stretched out her hand, “O Siegfried, my love! I divined a thought Wotan has hidden deep in my heart–Nixon in China is an opera worthy to be sung by the heroes of Valhalla!”

“Ho-ho, ho-hei! O glorious maiden, you have vanquished my heart with such words of love! The thought of the mighty Casey stirs a flame in my breast! Ho-ho, ha-hei!”

Well, there you have it: They were not impressed with Anna Nicole. But Carmen and Nixon in China come highly recommended. Turnage should have spent his time writing an opera about baseball.

As for me, my favorite opera (and without a doubt, the best opera of all time) has to be What’s Opera, Doc?


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