The Norma gong was a garbage can cover sprayed copper with spray paint. When Olive banged it, it went “chunk… chunk...chunk”. We howled almost as loudly as the chorus it inspired to arrive on stage - with monk’s robes, eyeglasses (the Gall branch of Cohen’s Optical?), spears, and shields with the music taped on the back. 

Yes, the Valkyries also used that scores on the back of shields trick. And yes, Olive had a flashlight - and a cane - as Sieglinde, and had to leave the stage for a while, because her leopard skin schmatah was falling off. Big BIG safety pin fixed that. The siegmund had sung Nemorino the week before.
The Gioconda Dance of the Hours was performed by one septuagenarian woman with a scarf. Should have been renamed, Dance of the Years. 
During the 2 Forzas I lived through, I had to take a break before Olive’s “Pace, pace” and go to the Howard Johnson’s nearby (this was at the Palm Gardens on W. 52 St) to have a coffee milkshake to regain my strength, exhausted from laughing, so I would have the energy to get through Act IV. The “Pace” took all her strength and mine.
The Miserere lived up to its name, but Olive did the Kitty Carlisle high C, which made it more than worth it.
Bella was the name of the chorus woman who, inexplicably in a Cavalleria peasant costume no matter the opera, made the speech about donations. She also looked out into the audience one night during her spiel and (pace Anna Russell) said - “Boys, why don’t you bring your girlfriends?!” That probably got the biggest laugh of the night - and that was BEFORE the opera started. 
Those were indeed the days. Miss it desperately. So lucky I was told to go there.

The Norma gong was a garbage can cover sprayed copper with spray paint. When Olive banged it, it went “chunk… chunk...chunk”. We howled almost as loudly as the chorus it inspired to arrive on stage - with monk’s robes, eyeglasses (the Gall branch of Cohen’s Optical?), spears, and shields with the music taped on the back. Yes, the Valkyries also used that scores on the back of shields trick. And yes, Olive had a flashlight - and a cane - as Sieglinde, and had to leave the stage for a while, because her leopard skin schmatah was falling off. Big BIG safety pin fixed that. The siegmund had sung Nemorino the week before. The Gioconda Dance of the Hours was performed by one septuagenarian woman with a scarf. Should have been renamed, Dance of the Years. During the 2 Forzas I lived through, I had to take a break before Olive’s “Pace, pace” and go to the Howard Johnson’s nearby (this was at the Palm Gardens on W. 52 St) to have a coffee milkshake to regain my strength, exhausted from laughing, so I would have the energy to get through Act IV. The “Pace” took all her strength and mine. The Miserere lived up to its name, but Olive did the Kitty Carlisle high C, which made it more than worth it. Bella was the name of the chorus woman who, inexplicably in a Cavalleria peasant costume no matter the opera, made the speech about donations. She also looked out into the audience one night during her spiel and (pace Anna Russell) said - “Boys, why don’t you bring your girlfriends?!” That probably got the biggest laugh of the night - and that was BEFORE the opera started. Those were indeed the days. Miss it desperately. So lucky I was told to go there.

Category:general -- posted at: 6:12pm EDT


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