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Subject: Re: French Nineteenth Century Opera Rarities Set in Floods that have Cast Members who are Opera Singers?
From: David Geary <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Geary <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 1 Sep 2017 19:35:51 +0200

text/plain (84 lines)

Charlie Handelman has a bootleg tapeof the performance.  
What wikipedia doesn't mention is that the alligator had an upset
stomach, caused by listening to Occhipinti's music all evening, and
vomited the prompter up . The prompter survived, but vowed never to go
near a theater again, and went into a monastery.


> "Il aligatore nel diluvio universale," by Michelangelo Occhipinti. 
> Premiered at La Scala in 
> 1847, survived for only one performance.  Cast:
> Noe - Giuseppe Grischio
> Sposa di Noe - Angela Bruttina
> Hammo - Alfredo Nerofaccio
> Shemmo - Carlo Topolino
> Giapetto - Piero Pierpotolico 
> Jehova - Luigi Lablache   
> Aligatore - Se Stesso      
> Conductor - Ungello Fischiabene
> From Wikipedia:
> "Il aligatore nel diluvio universale" was one of the most notorious
> fiascos in La Scala history.  
> The audience was not pleased with the opera, and the whole performance
> was hissed and 
> jeered.  The overture was met with a shout of, "Che sbaglia!," and Angela
> Bruttina was so 
> abused by the gallery that she fled the stage in tears and could only be
> persuaded to 
> continue with a promise of a nice dinner afterwards at Milan's best
> restaurant.  Lablache, in 
> a letter to a friend, said that he was thankful that he remained offstage
> the entire time and 
> he refused to appear before the curtain, although his solo, "Il mondo e
> screwed," was the 
> only piece that met with applause.  None of the elaborate scenic effects
> worked.  The 
> specially-installed system of pipes for the flood malfunctioned and at
> one rehearsal flooded 
> the orchestra pit, drowning a clarinetist.  The management had, at
> considerable expense, 
> imported a real alligator from the United States and its appearance at
> the conclusion of the 
> flood was greatly anticipated.  Unfortunately, it escaped from its leash
> and ate the prompter, 
> which inspired much hilarity in the gallery and the greatest applause of
> the evening.
> After the performance there was a riot in the theater, and the composer,
> Occhipinti, had to 
> flee the premises through an underground tunnel to the hotel across the
> street.  A large and 
> unruly crowd remained under his hotel windows throughout the night,
> shouting catcalls and 
> obscenities.  Occhipinti was so traumatized by the experience that he
> suffered a breakdown 
> from which he never recovered.  He blamed the alligator for the fiasco
> and maintained to 
> the end of his life that he should have used a python. 
> No trace remains of the music or the libretto, as the score and all
> orchestral and vocal parts 
> were burned by the La Scala management.  Verdi attended the dress
> rehearsal and said, 
> some years afterwards, "Questa fu propria brutta."

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