Warning: this is not my standard history post, but since the Royals are here, and since I’ve spent too long in doctors’ waiting rooms this week reading rubbish, and since this celebrates my 200th post since I began blogging, I’m indulging in nonsense instead.
Last year ABC Classic FM ran a competition, asking listeners to suggest a contemporary topic that could be turned into a Wagner opera. I thought they wanted 500 words. It was only after I’d written this that I re-checked, and they wanted 50 words. So I had a parody with nowhere to go. Until now.
The Curse of the Ring
Act I: A young Nordic prince, Frederik (tenor), travels to a Great Southern Land to compete with sailors from around the world in the Games of the Rings. He sings of his quest to claim the Gold and take it back with him to Denmark.
After a hard day out on the water, he seeks some action. Disguised as a commoner, he ventures into a Sydney pub, where he encounters Mary Donaldson (mezzo soprano), real estate agent, and her girlfriends, quietly singing together: ‘Which man here has the hairiest chest?‘
Frederik and Mary engage in flirtatious banter in the language of the natives:
You wouldn’t believe the price of Sydney houses! Yes I would, you should see Copenhagen.
Finally Frederik reveals his true identity
I don’t need a bloody unit, I live in a Paaa-lace!
Frederik and Mary plight their troth, and agree to meet again in Copenhagen. Frederik gives Mary a ring – unbeknownst to either of them, the Ring is Cursed.
Act II: Mary Donaldson arrives in Copenhagen. She parks her car in the wrong spot and is reviled by the local peasants:
You are not one of us! You don’t speak our language!’
Mary weeps piteously, and is comforted by Frederik.
Mary seeks wise counsel from Frederik’s parents, Queen Margarethe (contralto) and Prince Henrik (bass). ‘You need to have a hobby to stay sane,’ sings Queen Margarethe. ‘I illustrate children’s books.’
‘And you’ll soon learn the language‘, adds Henrik in his thick French accent.
Finally Mary reappears, radiant. Transformed and photoshopped, Mary Donaldson has been reborn as Crown Princess Mary, Countess of Monpezat.
Frederik and Mary marry in the cathedral in Copenhagen. They sing about their love in a lyrical duet, but as Frederik slides the wedding ring onto Mary’s finger, it activates The Curse. In the distance, we hear a rising Chorus of Paparazzi and Women’s Mags singing:
Baby bump, baby bump! Where’s the heir? Where’s the spare?
The next few years fly by, accompanied by the Chorus, as Mary fulfils her destiny. The baby bump, the baby bump, the heir and the spare, all arrive on schedule, reaching a crescendo from the Chorus with ‘The Twins!’
Each year Mary and her family make a pilgrimage to the magic Isle of Apples, Tasmania, to be renewed before returning to the Palace in Copenhagen for another round of balls and photo opportunities, and to face once more The Curse of the Ring.
Act III: Meanwhile, in the neighbouring land of England, another Prince, William (baritone), sets out to seek his fortune. He travels north into Scotland to go to university, where he meets a commoner, Kate Middleton (soprano).
They plight their throth.
They unplight their troth.
They plight their troth.
They unplight their troth.
Eventually they plight their troth and marry, inviting wedding guests from all over the world to the festivities. Amongst the guests are Frederik and Mary. The two couples greet each other in a joyful quartet. Then Mary draws Kate aside and gives her the Ring. They sing a brief duet sharing advice about hairstyles and diets.
Twelve years have passed. A cycle has been completed, and the Ring has a new owner.
At the royal wedding, William slides a wedding ring onto Kate’s finger, so activating The Curse. Behind the swelling song of the Wedding Guests, we pick up the theme of the Chorus of Paparazzi and Women’s Mags:
Baby bump, baby bump. The Heir – and the Spare?