The Texaco Opera Queens

by Richard Breath

EDWARD DUNCE: Good afternoon. We have a vastly knowledgeable and thoroughly closeted panel of experts with us on today's edition of "The Texaco Opera Queens."

Father M. Owen Spree is a professor of classics well-known for his hands-on application of the Socratic method.

Joining us for the first time on the Opera Queens is Cyril Trevor St. John DeWinter, known as "Bunny," a former doorman at Covent Garden who is now head of Artists and Repertoire in the classical division of Sony Classics.

Albert Innamorato is a noted playwright, critic, and confirmed bachelor who has conquered his personal demons and is currently working on... well, actually, uh, nothing at all.

MR. INNAMORATO: Nothing. Nothing.

MR. DUNCE: So, panel, let's get started. Our first question comes from Mr. Richard Breath of San Antonio, Texas. He asks, "What American opera company's music director has been waving his baton in sleazy after-hours sex clubs, despite the fact that a former general manager of that company was run out of town for just that sort of behavior?"

MR. INNAMORATO: I don't know, but I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I got hit by nuns a lot when I was a kid.

MR. DUNCE: Thank you for that insight, Mr. Innamorato. Now, here's a query from a Mr. Peter Hunter of Enid, Oklahoma, who wants to know if you can name the American soprano who is about to divorce her ex-callboy husband because he can't keep her satisfied?

MR. DEWINTER: I'm stymied. Does she sing at the English National Opera?

MR. DUNCE: No, I'm afraid she doesn't. But neither does anyone else. And now a question in a slightly different vein. Vic MacRapolus of Hell's Kitchen, New York, asks, "Romantic grand opera is full of great scenes of conspiracy and intrigue. Can you name your favorite scene of operatic conspiracy?" Father Spree?

FATHER SPREE: I would say the Vengeance Trio from Goetterdaemmerung.

MR. INNAMORATO: How about the Benediction of the Swords from Les Huguenots?

MR. DEWINTER: Operatic conspiracy? You must be talking about Nello Santi's claque.

MR. DUNCE: No, Mr. DeWinter, that subject is something that no one at the Met cares to talk about. Here's one from a Mrs. Phyllis Stein of Montreal, Quebec. "Can you name the in-demand young German maestro who has strong Neo-Nazi connections?"

MR. INNAMORATO: Are we talking about Karl Bohm?

MR. DUNCE: Uh, Karl Bohm is dead, Mr. Innamorato.

MR. INNAMORATO: All the good conductors are dead. And God knows no one can sing any more. Did you know that Hildy Ranczak once told me that she thought opera would be dead by 1958? All of us on the line called her Hildy because she used to sing "Come up to my place" for us in between acts of Tiefland. Nancy Walker once told me that Hattie McDaniel told her that Viorica Ursuleac gave the best head in Vienna, but I'm not sure if that's true, because I was talking on the phone once to Margarete Klose when Benay Venuta said...

MR. DUNCE: Yes, of course, Mr. Innamorato. We gave our panelists the following question earlier this week, so they could prepare detailed answers. "When Roberto Alagna sings pianissimo, he makes a very funny face. What do think that face most resembles?" Yes?

MR. INNAMORATO: I think he looks like a fish with indigestion.

MR. DEWINTER: I think he looks like he's drinking lemon squash through a straw.

FATHER SPREE: I think he looks like a blind man who knows he's about to get a blowjob.

MR. DUNCE: Thank you, Father Spree. I bow to your superior knowledge of the subject.

FATHER SPREE: You'll bow to my superior dick, you old queen. You think you're so smart, sitting there week after week with the answers right there before you. And, as for...

MR. DUNCE: I believe Mr. DeWinter has a comment.

MR. DEWINTER: The listeners may not be aware that Mr. Alagna is married to an exclusive Decca artist, the lovely and talented Angela Gheorghiu, and . . .

FATHER SPREE: She's with EMI now, you stupid poof. Give it a rest.

MR. DEWINTER: I'll give you this, you superannuated faggot... and pretty soon you'll be singing "Must DeWinter come so soon?"

MR. INNAMORATO: This all makes me feel so bitter. You know, once, when I was just a fat little Italian kid, Cosima Wagner said to me...

MR. DEWINTER and FATHER SPREE: For God's sake, SHUT UP!!!!

MR. DUNCE: Girls, please, put a sock in it! Mr. Gene Italia, of West Hollywood, California, asks, "Where is Susan Dunn appearing these days?"

FATHER SPREE: That's easy. On the side of a milk carton.

MR. DUNCE: We have time for one more question. "What humpy young baritone has alienated all the wardrobe people in American due to his habit of leaving brown stains in his white tights?" Mr. DeWinter, I believe your hand was up there first?

MR. DEWINTER: Oh, I don't know, but I'm sure it wasn't Anthony Michaels-Moore, who is a delightful new addition to the Sony family of . . .

MR. INNAMORATO: You know, Claudia Muzio could sing better than any of these modern sopranos, and she really liked taking it up the ass, too.

MR. DUNCE: As you have informed us so many times before, Mr. Innamorato. And speaking of "so many times before", I'm afraid those chimes are telling us we have to return to the fourth act of Puccini's La boheme. Back to you, Peter Allin.

PETER ALLIN: Thank you, Edward Dunce. All listeners whose questions are used on "The Texaco Opera Queens" will receive the following gift package:


Richard Breath is a regular contributor to parterre box, the queer opera zine.