Tuesday, February 10, 2009

C-flat My Valentine?

February 14th is a day that some people dread with every fiber of their being.  The plethora of lace-edged hearts and trite love poems, red roses, and mobs of lovey-dovey couples tossing small nougat-filled chocolates at each other...really, it's enough to make anyone try to use a Russell Stover box as a plunger.

If you have a lover/partner/baritones, you are required by law to spend the evening as Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, i.e. feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries and limiting your conversation to words that rhyme with "love," "snuggle," and "canoodle."

If, on the other hand, you are currently between lovers/partners/baritones, you are forced to endure the personal humiliation of an evening spent at home, watching "When Harry Met Sally," drinking from a heart-shaped bottle of whiskey, and reminding yourself that, in addition to not getting into any summer programs, you are going to die alone and unloved, surrounded by twelve cats named Bach.

Don't get me wrong...I happen to adore chocolate, and I have been known to wear the color red on occasion.  In fact, I even wrote a Valentine love poem to Charlie Anderson in the ninth grade along the lines of: "I want your body.  You're such a hottie."  (For some reason, he changed his phone number and filed a restraining order the next day, but I really think that we had a connection.)

And, though it may be hard to believe, Valentine's Day does serve an important purpose to our society.  First, it helps fill in the depressing holiday gap between Christmas and the 4th of July.  Second, it reminds us that expensive cardiologists are unnecessary because the heart is actually a two-dimensional symbol surrounded by lace.  Third, it helps our beloved country maintain its Olympiad status of obesity.  Huzzah!

In essence, what truly enrages me about Valentine's Day is the extent to which opera singers are cut out of the holiday.  Three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, we are the experts on love: whether it's romantic love, carnal love, parental love, incestuous love, perverted love, intellectual love, culinary love...you name it, we sing it in our opera houses.

But then, when February 14th rolls around, the civilians decide to mutiny against our romantic monopoly and take matters into their own hands.  And what is the result of this heavy-handedness?  Coconut-flavored chocolates and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."

With that in mind, I have taken it upon myself to reinvent Valentine's Day as a holiday that can be celebrated best by opera singers.  Russell Stover and Hallmark will continue to churn out chocolates and banal poems, but, for this year at least, I have created a few Lily Puns replacements for those painful Valentine traditions.

Box of chocolates:

Buy a box of Mozartkugeln and write a short note that reads: "Batti, batti, but my love for you is come scoglio."

If your inclinations are more toward early music, you might want to consider accompanying your chocolate with: "I love your well-tempered clavicle, so I'll definitely be Bach" or "If I don't get a Handel on you, my heart will be baroque."

Or, for a more generic Valentine saying, I would recommend either: "Roses are red, charcoal is black, I just don't like your vocal attack" or "Roses are red, votes need a ballot, my teacher says that you need more palate."

Seductive sonnet for a handsome baritone/tenor

Perhaps you've noticed how I look at you
At school, in class, especially when you sing
I've spent some time constructing plans to woo
A bari-tenor.  You are just the thing!

Your dulcet tones are sweet, the truth be told
But even more, I like the way you place
Your vowels up front, your [i] and [a] so bold.
I've just so glad that you are not a bass.

I think you might be dating someone new
But honestly, her high notes are quite weak.
My Mimi, Tosca, Anna, and Lulu
Make hers sound like a toilet with a leak.

So drop the broad, and be my Don Jose
We'll sing a duet Valentine, okay?

Break-up sonnet for your current baritone/tenor so that you are free to pursue the handsome baritone/tenor mentioned above:

Oh God, I cannot stand it any more.
We're done, we're through, you owe me last month's rent
You weren't that smart and really such a bore,
But, worst of all, your voice was nightmare sent.

While we were close, I felt the need to lie.
You tried your best (I guess) at singing well,
But when you'd vocalize, I'd want to die...
Eight months with you was tantamount to Hell.

Your tone is harsh and thick, you tend to crack,
And as for pitch, you might as well be deaf.
Your low notes wobble with the breath you lack;
Your high notes shriek and struggle at mere F.

So that's my reason: simply, straight, and true...
My vocal taste demands much more than you.

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