Tribulations Of The Buttonmaker is an opera by the French-Aboriginal Australian composer Di Géridu. It has not been performed since the early 19th century, possibly because of its vast cast, loopy libretto, and/or musical pomposity.
In Act One, Fulgencio the buttonmaker is beset by tribulations. He is attacked by an angry spider. His hat is blown off in a high wind. He chokes on a gobstopper. One of his buttons falls down a drain. He is excommunicated by the Pope. Brutes break both his arms. The weft of his tunic is in disarray. His villa is infested by peewits. He contracts a dangerous ague. Mice nibble his bootlaces. Another of his buttons falls down a different drain. His bowl of plums is poisoned. Malign sprites with pitchforks torment him in his sleep. The rent on his palazzo is increased. He is hoist by his own petard. Then he is hoist by several other people’s petards. He is followed everywhere he goes by a rancorous chicken. He develops an allergy to spinach. He accidentally drops another button down another drain. The earth trembles. The stars are blotted out. The sky falls down
Act One closes with Fulgencio singing the monotonous dirge “O! Woe unto me for I have been attacked by an angry spider and my hat was blown off in a high wind and I choked on a gobstopper and one of my buttons fell down a drain and I was excommunicated by the Pope and brutes broke both my arms and the weft of my tunic was in disarray and my villa was infested by peewits and I contracted a dangerous ague and mice nibbled my bootlaces and another of my buttons fell down a different drain and my bowl of plums was poisoned and malign sprites with pitchforks tormented me in my sleep and the rent on my palazzo was increased and I was hoist by my own petard and then I was hoist by several other people’s petards and I was followed everywhere I went by a rancorous chicken and I developed an allergy to spinach and I accidentally dropped another button down another drain and the earth trembled and the stars were blotted out and the sky fell down and I’m feeling so lonesome I could die”.
In Acts Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen Fulgencio the buttonmaker suffers further tribulations, until, as the curtain falls, the stage is littered with corpses and the angry spider scuttles off, stage right.