When I was a child, my mother instilled in me a love of opera. She rarely missed the Metropolitan Opera broadcast on Saturday afternoons. The house would reverberate with the strains of countless composers. On the rare occasion when the performance was not to her liking, I soon came to realize that the opera was not Italian. I would like to share this love of opera with the readers of My Mac Magazine. Let it not be said that this pioneering Internet publication offers class but not the classics.
The Marriage of Mela – by Joe Green
Cast in order of appearance:
Act I, Scene 1
Villa Courtyard of Count William Cancello
The townspeople and the peasants from the surrounding countryside have gathered to protest the Count’s tax on window glass. As the curtain rises they sing the melancholy and deeply moving, “Willie is a pain inna da neck.” William and his twin brother, Intello, enter the courtyard on horseback. The two are inseparable. Indeed, rumours of an unnatural relationship abound, but no one has the intestinal fortitude to confront them. Even Padre Pulito, their personal confessor, looks the other way, preferring to keep his lucrative position than to anger the brothers. They are enraged when they see the crowded courtyard. William venomously sings “I’m tho mad I cud thpit.” When he is finished, his brother Intello reprises with, “I’m tho mad I cud thpit, too.” They force their way through the throng and enter the villa with Padre Pulito following.
Act I, Scene 2
Main foyer – Interior villa
Padre Pulito, bowing and scraping, his head resting a few feet above the floor, begs the Count’s forgiveness for the unruly reception they received, and vows in his aria of response “I will get back at that rabble at Tuesday night’s bingo.” Count William is about to wave him away but instead asks him what has transpired with the proposed marriage to Mela of Graphica. His passion for the young woman is implied musically in his aria,”Mela is one hot Mama” He is not pleased with the dowry and demands it be increased by 5000 ducats. He insists that Padre Pulito inform her father, the Duke of Graphica, of this financial requirement in the short arrieta, “It’s upgrade time.”
Act I, Scene 3
The Throne Room – Kingdom of Solaris
Having heard MacOsRumors about William and Intello, the Duke of Graphica wisely searches for other suitors. He meets with King Solemio and in the powerful aria, “Oh Solemio,” describes the sweetness of Mela and how she was named after the apple orchards near their villa. Solemio is intrigued but, since he is four score and twenty years older than Mela, he wonders if she would be satisfied with a quiet life. He sings his lament in “It don’t work!” The Duke, disappointed in King Solemio as a possible suitor, decides to look elsewhere.
Act I, Scene 4
A Street in the Duchy of Cupertino
Two young men, Steverino and Klaris, bemoan their misfortune in “The system sucks. What’s next?” Steverino is determined to win back his birthright from his uncle, Gilberto d’Amelio. He vows revenge in the forceful solo, “That old S.O.B.” His friend, Klaris, works hard on his multiple personality problem and decides the only way to keep his sanity is to change his name to Appolonio as he explains in “It’s only a name” The Duke of Graphica approaches and asks Klaris/Appolonio if he knows of any eligible titled suitors for his daughter. “Hey Dude! Where’s the action?” Klaris introduces Steverino and explains how he was defrauded of his legacy. The Duke is impressed with Steverino and voices his approval with the comedic “He’s got Chutzpah” The first act ends with the Duke and his new friends enjoying a drink at the popular Cantina della Valle Silicona. They toast each other in “It may be vino, but it ain’t Coors.”
Act II, Scene 1
Palace of Gilberto d’Amelio – Interior
Gilberto d’Amelio reluctantly asks Steverino to return and to share in governing the duchy. He is desperate for help to increase the duchy’s capacity to grow apples since it is their only means of revenue. He sings “An apple a day doesn’t cut it.” Steverino accepts in his usual confrontational fashion:”Who are you?” He improves apple production fivefold by clever use of sweet talk to the labourers and a heavy dose of cow manure to the trees. Occasionally, he confuses the two as he explains: “Any way you look at it, it’s still crap“. He gains the help of Nexus, leader of UAPC, the United Apple Pickers of Cupertino. He also receives free support from Linux of Geekdom and his father, Unix, who rule the adjacent duchy. Gilberto, Steverino, Nexus, Linux, and Unix join in a joyous chorus of “We’re forever growing apples.”
Act II, Scene 2
Moonlit garden outside Mela’s bed chamber
Mela is kneeling, deep in prayer, before a small stone altar. She stands and lights a pot of incense and sings the haunting, “Holy Smoke.” She pauses when she hears a sound in the apple orchard. A young man, Novante Cinque, emerges from the orchard munching on an apple. He has been pestering Mela with unwanted attention. Mela does not return his feelings and in an aside sings, “Loser thy name is Novante Cinque.” He has proven himself a liar and a cheat and has a habit of crashing to the ground when he suffers loss of memory, which is often. He tells her he loves her and offers to give her father money in exchange for stock: “200 ducats for 2 cows.” Mela replies that he cannot buy her love if she does not love him. Novante responds with the redundant, “How could you believe me when I said I loved you when you know I’ve been a liar all my life?” He leaves, resigned to his loss, and Mela falls to her knees in relief and prayer.
Act II, Scene 3
La Ballo de San Francesco – Early January
The annual ball of St. Francis, held in the city of Terramoto, is co-hosted by King Solemio and the Duke of Graphica. Count William and his brother, Intello, have always boycotted the event, considering it beneath them. They voice their disdain: “Our windows are shut to that racket.” The Duke introduces Steverino to his daughter, Mela. They are immediately attracted to each other and Steverino sings, in his softest, most gentle voice, the aria, “What’s your sign?” They dance the night away and, before they part, are betrothed. The Duke is pleased and happy that, at last, his daughter will be settled.
Act II, Scene 4
Count William Cancello’s villa – Morning
When Count William hears of the betrothal, he is livid. He vents his hostility: “It’s queer that he is marrying a fruit.” To take his mind off his loss and to appease his avarice, he introduces an additional window glass tax. Now, no matter what type of window glass you have, you will be taxed. The peasants can barely afford the cheapest window glass, type 3.x. They cannot pay the new tax. They revolt and sing in unison: “Willie boy is dead meat.” William and Intello are quickly overthrown and banished to the island of Commodore. Linux of Geekdom is chosen to replace them. The peasants embrace their new leader in “Hail Linux.” They find his openness a source of wonder and his promise of virtual freedom from taxes a panacea. The curtain falls.
Act III, Scene 1
The cathedral in Graphica – Exterior
Mela and Steverino emerge from the cathedral as man and wife. The citizens of Graphica shout and applaud them and sing their praise with “Viva l’amore.” As the carriage carrying the newlyweds passes from view, we hear in the distance an excited Mela sing the provocative love song, “Bite me!”
Act III, Scene 2
Terrace outside the bridal bed chamber – Dawn
Steverino’s personal aide, Connectix, approaches from the shadows, his sword drawn and dripping with blood. He raises it skyward and sings “D’Amelio has left the building.” He walks to the French doors leading to the bed chamber and taps on the newly tax-free glass. A disheveled Steverino appears, wrapped in a bed sheet. He shakes his head in answer to Connectix’ unspoken question. Bitterly he sings “I can’t concentrate.” Connectix tells him of the fate of D’Amelio and, with renewed vigor, Steverino rushes back to the bed chamber.
Act III, Scene 3
Terrace outside the bridal bed chamber – Five minutes later
A small crowd of citizens appears to express congratulations to the newlyweds and ask the musical question,”Any news?“” Connectix discreetly peers into the bed chamber. In jubilation, he tosses his sword into the air. It pierces the ground, perfectly perpendicular. The amalgamation’s release is a success and Connectix sings the intimately sweet aria, “Consummation.”
Act III, Scene 4
The palace reception room – Four weeks later
Steverino is holding court and receiving visitors. First to be presented is his friend, Appolonio, who continues to have multiple personality difficulties. His complaint is spelled out in the confused “I can’t make up my mind who I am.” He has tried being an author, draftsman, painter, accountant, file clerk, and late night M.C. Steverino calms him by appointing him “Jack of all trades” and promises he won’t have to change his name again. Next is Padre Pulito, now looking for a new position: “Can I sell you an indulgence or two?“” He is quickly removed and followed by Mela’s elderly nanny, Donna Vecchia. She hobbles towards him in great excitement waving a vial into the air as she croaks out a song, “The test is blue.” A beaming Mela enters with her father and they join in a duet of joy on the pending birth of an heir to the apple orchard fortune.
A short glossary:
Cancello – gate; Padre Pulito – Father Clean; Mela – apple; Cantina della Valle Silicona – Silicon Valley Pub; Novante Cinque – 95; Terramoto – earthquake
Ralph J. Luciani