Idea For An Opera

Far away, out on the desolate moors, in moonlight, the goatherd manqué peered into the night, lost in thought. Under the same moon, a year ago, he still had his goats to herd. But they were taken from him, and he was banished, goatless, to wander the moors, wrapped in a tattered and threadbare shawl, to feed off nettles and puddlewater, to rue his fate.

Yet on this night, clear and still, with fat stars twinkling across the boundless firmament, the bereft goatherd’s thoughts were not of himself, of his own ruin, but of another. Whatever became, he wondered, after his mocking, after the Count’s curse, after he was accosted by the assassin Sparafucile, after the abduction of Gilda, after being beaten up by courtiers, after his vow of revenge, after the parley with Sparafucile and the thunderstorm and Gilda’s dressing in a man’s garb, after receiving the sack, after weighting the sack with stones, after opening the sack, after finding the mortally wounded Gilda, after her death-groans, whatever became, the goatherd wondered, whatever became of the hunchbacked court jester Rigoletto? Rigoletto, his brother?

He chided himself. “I was too busy with my goats! I cared more for my goats than I did for my disfigured brother! And now my niece is dead and my brother none knows where. I have lost all, my goats and my niece and my brother. I wander these moors, alone, weeping, subsisting on nettles and puddlewater, mocked by the moon and the stars. Has any man suffered such torment since Job?”

There came of a sudden, across the desolation, a response.

“Possibly not,” said a voice. Out of the night, a figure approached the goatherd, the figure of a man with flowing locks and a pointy beard, dressed to the nines in an Italianate suit, waving a gold-knobbed cane, a true boulevard magnifico uncannily transported to the desolate moor.

“Forgive me,” he said, as he reached the patch of bracken where the goatherd stood, tragically goatless yet noble, silhouetted in the moonlight, “I could not help overhearing your bewailings as I strolled stylishly across this desolate moor on this clear still moonlit night. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Signor Crepusco. But perhaps you have heard of me?”

The goatherd could but grunt.

“Ah well, “ said the Signor, “Mayhap my glittering reputation as a composer of operatic masterpieces has not yet reached this land of desolation and nettles and puddles. No matter! Soon it shall, for your woebegone blatherings have touched me to the soul, and I intend to write an opera about you! Come, goatless yet noble fellow, repair with me to the inn where I have taken rooms, and we shall set to work by candlelight!”

And thus was hatched the embryo of one of the titanic operatic masterpieces of this or any other time, of this or any other planet.

2 thoughts on “Idea For An Opera

  1. I take it this is not The Dwarf Crepusco’, he of the Rococo tattoo? Or did he manifest himself as a boulevard magnifico in the time before his tattooing and endwarfment?

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