Time For An Aria, from Gemini the Musical (2004) (Day 178)

Maria CallasI’m terribly fond of this song, and I think it may be one of the funniest songs I’ve written. I’m not sure the performance on this track makes a very strong case for that claim, however. For the 2004 production of Gemini the Musical (the version that included Maria Callas as a character), I wrote this song as an “intermezzo” that was performed midway through Act One. Francis is greatly troubled by the arrival of Judith and Randy, and Maria appears as his confidante and best friend to give him this advice.

I’ve printed the lyric here as I imagined it would be performed. This includes an opening stanza in which Maria quotes from one of her most famous arias Suicidio from La Gioconda, since Francis is practically suicidal with distress. (I know, all the opera queens reading this are falling over with laughter.) In rehearsals, however, we discovered that the actress playing this role couldn’t quite put over the operatic bits, and so we re-assigned them to Francis. Suffice it to say that the song is still waiting for the singer who can pull it off – Mary DiGangi, I’m looking in your direction, babe!

Suicidio!
People flock to the opera
For songs like this one,
For screaming divas
Facing catastrophe,
Threatening suicide.
Those are the moments
That a diva adores.

(spoken) Take notes, oh my Francis. This is about your life! And switch to doo-wop. It’s indigenous to South Philadelphia!

(Music changes.)

(sings) Our hero is distressed
The torment in his breast
Is more acute than words can say.
That means it’s time for an aria
He can sing his troubles away.
In Traviata I
Knew I was gonna die,
The victim of a horrible disease. (coughs)
That meant it was time for an aria.

(Sings from La Traviata.) Della traviata sorridi al desio
A lei deh perdona
tu accogilla o dio.

(spoken)
It was time for a couple high C’s!

Poor Tosca had to face
Degradation and disgrace.
At the hands of evil Scarpia, that brute.
But still she found time for an aria…

(She quotes a little Tosca.) Vissi d’arte,
Vissi d’amore,
Non feci mai male ad anima viva! Con man furtiva
quante miserle
Connobi a iua…

Then jumped off the parapet to boot!

I live my life by a simple rule,
One that i learned back in diva school.
When it’s time to face the music,
You can’t go wrong
If you face it with a song.

I know it might feel silly
To go singing through South Philly.
But with a song, you can’t go wrong, it’s clear
And when it’s time for an aria
You can turn your bad scene to a mad scene —

(She sings some mad coloratura from Lucia di Lammermoor.)

And the public will stand up and cheer.
(gesturing to the audience to applaud, pushing Francis offstage)
…and cheer! …and cheer!

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