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Subject: Re: French Nineteenth Century Opera Rarities Set in Floods that have Cast Members who are Opera Singers?
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Fri, 1 Sep 2017 11:32:39 -0400

text/plain (54 lines)

"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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