An Inconvenient Opera: Your Version





Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” first a film and then a book, is becoming an opera. Officials of La Scala in Milan say the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been commissioned to write it for the 2011 season, The Associated Press reported.

Dear Mr. Gore,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my draft of “Verità Inconveniente.” Rest assured that I and the management of La Scala are committed to a serious presentation of your scientific work. I will try to adopt some of your suggestions, but I hope you appreciate the constraints faced by the composer of an opera that is already five hours long.

I agree it would “round out the résumé” of Prince Algorino in the opening scene if he were to sing about his creation of a communications network. But the “Mio magnifico Internet” aria you propose seems to me a distraction — and frankly out of place in an 18th-century Tuscan village. I believe the peasants’ choral celebration of Prince Algorino’s wisdom suffices to establish his virtues.

I will ask our technicians about the feasibility of producing “stinky smoke” to accompany the entrance of Petroleo, but it may be unnecessary. Doesn’t the wizard’s evilness become obvious once he beguiles the Minemaidens into relinquishing their buried treasure? (Note: I will try changing “treasure” to “fossil fuels,” but it will not be an easy rhyme.)

Perhaps, as you complain, Petroleo does exude a certain glamour in his patter song promising magic lanterns and horseless carriages and flying machines. But when he seduces the chief Minemaiden, the music darkens with a menacing crescendo as they embrace, singing “Combustione! Combustione!” There is no mistaking the unholiness of their union, nor its catastrophic consequence once their daughter Carbonia is born.

I grant you it would be more chemically precise to give Carbonia twin siblings named after oxygen. But this would dilute the role and doom our chances of getting Anna Netrebko for Carbonia, and she is essential for the scene on Olympus. If it is to be credible, we must have a Carbonia with the sinister beauty to inflame the passions of Zeus, Poseidon, Aether and the other weather gods....



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