Tuesday, May 27, 2008


First off, that has to qualify as the worst pun I ever used as a heading here.....

Over this past weekend, Classical Singer magazine sponsored the 4th annual high school competition and college expo for potential opera singers. Friends of mine flew in from Denver for the event (held at the Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge) with their daughter, who had won her regional championship; and even though Rachel didn't get as far in the competition as we would have liked, her meetings with college reps was fruitful. She even received a few scholarship offers from several schools already, even though she's still just a junior (and 15 years old at that!)

I went to the final round of the competition on Memorial Day with my friends, and as I listened to the ten finalists, an idea for a Tiddlywinkydink came to mind......

How opera figured into the plots of several TV shows, of course!

Here are just a few examples of what I found in my research:

First off, of course, are the two series that dealt with opera singers as their main characters, 'Bonino' and 'Encore! Encore!'. In 1953, Babbo Bonino withdrew from touring at the height of his career after his wife died so that he could raise their six children. And in the other sitcom, after his vocal powers abandoned him in 1998, Joseph Pinino returned to his family's Napa Valley vineyard to restart his life.
But there were other shows with individual episodes dealing with opera. For the most part, if they weren't dramas in which crimes were committed against the backdrop of opera, they seemed to be sitcoms with over-sexed opera stars......

'Murder, She Wrote'
Season 6, Episode 8:

"When the Fat Lady Sings"
Original Air Date: 19 November 1989
Jessica is drawn into an appropriately melodramatic situation when a renowned opera singer is accused of murder in San Francisco.

'The Odd Couple'
Season 3, Episode 18:
"The Hustler"
Original Air Date: 9 February 1973
Felix needs Oscar to win money in a pool game so he can get the money for the costumes for his opera group.
Season 4, Episode 17:
"Vocal Girl Makes Good"
Original Air Date: 25 January 1974
Felix's newest opera discovery will only appear if Oscar is also in the production.

'Keen Eddie'
"Achtung Baby"
Episode Number: 3 Season Num: 1
First Aired: Tuesday June 17, 2003
Eddie is assigned to protect Liese Kohl, a German opera singer, from someone who is stalking her. When she professes that she has interest in him, Eddie doesn't seem to mind. But someone else minds that she is falling for Eddie, Fiona.

Season 4, Episode 9:
"The Opera"
Original Air Date: 4 November 1992
"Crazy" Joe leaves Jerry a message saying he will put the "kibosh" on him. Kramer has tickets for the opera, Pagliacci, and everyone is going including Elaine and her boyfriend "Crazy" Joe. Elaine drops in on Joe's apartment and is she surprised by what she discovers, so she maces him with cherry Binaca and ends their relationship. Susan can't attend, so George tries to scalp her ticket. Joe, a big fan of Pagliacci, comes to the opera in clown garb; Elaine and Jerry attend together not realizing their different estranged relationships with Joe.

'That Girl'
Season 1, Episode 24:
"A Tenor's Loving Care"
Original Air Date: 23 February 1967
Ann helps Donald get a story about a famous opera singer, if only he can control his romantic urges.

'The Adventures of Jim Bowie'
"The Select Females" (1956)
Jim Bowie is in a hurry on his way to New Orleans to take a lady to the Opera Ball when he comes upon two women who are having trouble with their pony cart.

'Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond'
"Earthquake" (1960)
In 1906 San Francisco, many famous people gather at a hotel to hear renowned opera singer Enrico Caruso perform. However, a bellboy at the hotel suddenly has visions of impending mass destruction and death, but he can't get anyone to listen to him.
[Due to the historical event, this would be linked to "The Gambler IV: Luck Of The Draw".]

'All Creatures Great and Small'
"The Salt of the Earth" (1988)
Still short-handed with Tristan away in Ireland, Sigfried proudly announces that he has arranged for a vet, Willy Bannister, to assist them for a fortnight. To Calum's dismay, Willie is a "tea-totaler" who is fond of opera, but he brightens somewhat when Willy claims to be a good cook.

'As If'
"Alex's POV" (2004)
After Sooz sneers that Alex has only one gay friend, and Allen encourages his 'gay guru' to try the Gay Dining Club after drooling at their Internet looks, he goes to the opera with older Richard, who seems interested. Alex lures Nicki and Sasha away with opera tickets in order to use Nicki's house, but they get thrown out.

'The Jack Benny Program'
"Jack Hires Opera Singer in Rome" (1957)
This was an episode filmed in Europe. The plot involves Jack staying in a hotel and being frustrated by the loud opera singing coming from the room next door. He starts to complain until he is told that a famous opera singer was discovered and made his agent millions of dollars. This changes Jack's tune, and he offers to start his neighbor in a career as a professional opera star, with Jack naturally as his agent. When Jack asks the neighbor to sing for a crowd of people, he is sickened by the man's awful voice. It turns out that the voice Jack heard was a record of the famous opera singer he had been told about.

"Death of the Self"
Our detectives find themselves overseas again when an Englishwoman dies in mysterious circumstances in Verona. Morse revels in the open-air opera and falls for glamorous singer Nicole Burgess.
"Twilight of the Gods"
Morse is called into action when a sniper opens fire on a procession of dignitaries at Oxford University. A world-famous opera singer is left seriously wounded, but was she the intended target?

'Love, American Style'
"Love and the Opera Singer"
Episode Number: 325 Season Num: 5
First Aired: Friday November 2, 1973
An operatic tenor is a ladies' man.

Most of the plot descriptions came from either the IMDb or from TV.com.

We'll be addressing the subject again in a few days....

Toby OB

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