The Fat Lady And The Prof: 25 Year's On

Amongst the most often quoted of phrases, whether its origins be in opera or baseball - the jury is still out [see Brenda Oats [2026] This Fat Lady Never Sang [Threadbone Brief Lives] The Threadbone Press] - "It ain't over til the fat lady sings" is a quintessential example of American wit and repartee. See Rep Artée [2008] A Pocket Book of Quintessential American Wit and Repartee 4pp The Threadbone Press 2008]. To the stuffy clientele or "opera buffs" of the major Houses, it is also an unsupportably crass and notably philistine phrase reducing the hieratic and sublime art that is The Opera to the long-winded cartoon posturing that many believe it to be [see Phil Istein [2011] Why Opera Is Crap in the Ennui Press's Why Everything Is Crap Series [2011-14].



Renata Toobaldy - the Met's pre-eminent Tosca in 1969 with tenor Franco Formaggio whose striking resemblance to the young Professor Thrupiece has led many to believe that the Professor himself insinuated himself into the production. There is little evidence for this save a complete Scarpia costume found amongst his effects when his Chetnole love-nest was dismantled in 2017.
Renata Toobaldy - the Met's pre-eminent Tosca in 1969 with tenor Franco Formaggio whose striking resemblance to the young Professor Thrupiece has led many to believe that the Professor insinuated himself into the production. There is little evidence for this save a complete Scarpia costume found amongst his effects when his Chetnole love-nest was dismantled in 2017.

Amongst opera's most famous sceptical observers prior to 1969 was Professor Thrupiece who happily admitted [Thrupiece Diaries Vol XMCLVIII] that it was a closed book to him as a youth. "Went to Aida with Audrey. Lots of colour and movement and the elephants and tigers in Act II were mildly entertaining especially when one otherwise rather dopy lioness tried to take a chunk out of Radames. Never seen a fat man move so fast. The ending was pure farce. Consigned to a sealed cage to starve to death, the tenor and soprano - who between them could have lifted several double decker buses- looked very unlikely candidates for an early death. As one wit shouted from the balcony: "Christ they'll hold out for months". We all roared with laughter; not the effect for which the Company - or Verdi for that matter - were hoping I suspect. Audrey brought some excellent peanut brittle but her poor sense of rhythm put her crunching at odds with the score".


All this was to change when Professor Thrupiece visited New York in 1969 and was taken, famously, to Lincoln Centre where pre-eminent soprano Renata Toobaldy was performing Puccini's Tosca under the direction of Francesco Moulinaspic-Praulinelli. Captivated first by the music ["I never knew Rogers and Hammerstein could sound this good"], second by the sheer scale of the production ["This was bigger than the Festival Players Theatre Minterne Magna and no mistake"], and thirdly by the soprano's ample chest*, he was to become not only a convert, but a life long prozelytiser on behalf of the extravagant art form for the rest of his tragically foreshortened life. [NB The editor takes no responsibility for potentially unfound and almost certainly premature pronouncements of the Professor's demise. He is officially "missing presumed disappeared" and has been so for 15 years.]


*When later the Professor studied the score and found several FFF markings, he was convinced, until corrected, that this was an indication of Puccini's preferred soprano chest size.]


Self confessed opera buff Oprah Buffe - whose own introduction to the world of overweight performance art came courtesy of a chance encounter with Professor Thrupiece's magical beginners guide [Professor Brian Thrupiece [1984] "Wotan's Weltanschauung: OperverstehenimKontextderphilosophischen-MusikwissenschaftWesteuropas", The Threadbone Press] - believes that 1969 is, therefore, a critical year in the annals of opera history. She is not alone. A chance inquiry at the Bradpole Public Lending Library produced a slightly battered edition of The New Yorker Magazine from 1969 which features an interview with the newly converted Professor in which he talks openly about his new-found love: "Attending Tosca was one of the greatest and perhaps most significant events of my life. Until the internet is fully up and running and images can be downloaded at will, the opera represents the best way in which a fully functioning adult male can get his regular dose of the needful under the protective canopy of "high art". I am looking forward to many nights of glorious singing and gratuitous nudity and so have already contacted David Mountmee to suggest that the DNO consider a fully naked "Samson et Dalilah" with or without wigs."


To mark the anniversary of the Professor's Met visit, Thrupiece enthusiasts Cram Egnillib and Aidan Nosbig will be attending a special Broadway performance of The Book of Moron and are expected to leave for Shillingstone International Airport this evening. We await further reports.


Twenty-five years ago - almost to the day - Professor Thrupiece visited the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Centre. The New Yorker Magazine grasped the significance of the visit immediately and set out to interview the world's most famous astronaut without delay.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All