Les Démocrates              

Recently Discovered Meyerbeer Grand Opera 

             presented by  

          DON OPERATICO 

              Date: December 09, 2000 08:58 PM
            Author: Don Operatico 
            Subject: Recently Discovered Meyerbeer Grand Opera
            Albert (pronounced Al-BAIR) de Gore (tenor)
            Raoul Nader (bass)

            Georges St.-Buche (bass-baritone)
            Bucanan de Nevers (baritone)

            Amérique de Valois (soprano)
            Catherine Harice de St.-Buche (soprano)

            Act I

            The opera opens with a fund-raising party in
            sixteenth-century France, at which a chorus of politicians,
            corporate donors, and media moguls is schmoozing with three
            candidates for the position of Lord High Whatever. A propos of the
            need to restrict the influx of immigrants, Bucanan de Nevers relates
            some of his amorous adventures. Albert, a Democrat, chimes in,
            relating how he has fallen in love with a mysterious beauty, who
            turns out to be Catherine Harice de St.-Buche, the daughter of the
            Republican leader Georges de St.-Buche. She's also the one charged
            with advising Queen Amérique de Valois on how to select the LHW.
            St.-Buche has subtly hinted that, if he isn't chosen, Catherine
            could find herself not only out of pocket money, but shipped off to
            a convent. If he is, she can marry Bucanan; but she doen't have a
            hope of marrying Albert, St.-Buche's hereditary enemy. Raoul Nader,
            meanwhile, views all this corporate schmoozing with gruff disdain,
            expressing his left-eing views about universal healthcare and the
            like in the most uncompromising terms, in a rollicking aria based on
            the theme "We Shall Overcome."

            Act II 

            Queen Amérique de Valois is in her royal chamber, watching some
            court entertainment or other called "Tous Mes Enfants" or something
            equally dreary. This is a pretext for a longish ballet. The
            candidates for LHW try desperately to attract her attention, with
            little success. Finally she hires a slew of a hundred courtiers to
            vote for her, which they do in the election ballet. The latter is
            interrupted by the sudden arrival of Catherine Harice de St.-Buche,
            who trips several courtiers with her train. As they sprawl on the
            floor, it looks as though most of them are pointing at St-Buche
            (some of them having been subtly moved by Catherine). St.-Buche
            claims to have won; Albert challenges him to a duel.
              Date: December 11, 2000 01:01 PM
              Author: Susie McLean
              Subject: Les democrates
              Don't forget the apotheosis, sung by the nine-member chorus, "Les

              Date: December 11, 2000 02:07 PM
              Author: Alan Bromberg
              Subject: Les democrates
            [Ballet request] 
            Will that be the notorious "Butterfly Ballet?"
            Date: December 10, 2000 07:34 PM  
           Act  III 

            The election-officials' chorus is followed by the hand-recount
            ballet, in which ballot-counters deftly evade the swords of the
            Republicans.  Who needs actual singing in an opera anyway?

            Subsequently, Albert and Georges face off in a duet. St-Buche
            insists that the Lord High Whatevership is his by right, since he'd
            forked out well overthe statutory venti scudi for it. Albert, on the
            other hand, argues that most of the nobility want him, and so does
            Catherine Harice de SB. At this reference to St-Buche's daughter,
            the duel starts getting violent, and is interrupted only by hte
            timely arrival of Catherine herself, who comes between the two
            contestants, accidentally tripping up St-Buche with her train, in
            the erroneous belief that he's Albert de Gore. The act ends as
            St-Buche gets up, quivering with syntactically and lexically
            challenged rage.

            Date: December 11, 2000 09:19 PM
            Act IV
            A chorus of pundits sings of the need for "closure" (La Clôture),
            while silencing some plebs who say the vote should be counted
            halfway fairly, insofar as 'fair" is possible in an undemocratic
            electoral system like ours (referring, of course, to
            sixteenth-century France). Why, sing the pundits, not just let
            St-Buche have the bloody election; it isn't as though it much

            There follows the media circus ballet.

            St.-Buche, meanwhile, is all fired up for vengeance. He sings a
            dyslexic, or possibly just sloppy, aria egging on the Republicans to
            violence against the Democrats and their hand-counting lackeys.
            Bucanan alone resists their ignoble purpose; miffed, he runs off to             hold his own party.

           Act V

            Albert and Catherine sing a longish love-duet; out of love for
            Albert, Catherine decides to allow the hand-counts after all.
            Indeed, she goes even further, becoming not only a Buddhist nun, but
            a Democratic fund-raiser. Raoul Nader hears their vows and marries
            them, all the while gruffly pointing out that Albert would have won
            handily if more people had been aware that he wasn't St.-Buche. He
            grumbles something about corporate shills to a not terribly subtle
            reprise of "We Shall Overcome."

            The hand-count ballet (also called the ballot ballet) resumes,
            watched by Raoul, Albert, and Catherine. One of Meyerbeer's most
            original touches here is having some of the dancers dress up in
            butterfly suits to represent the ballots. The ballet is suddenly
            interrupted when a mob of Republicans rushes in and puts the
            ballot-counters and other liberals to fire and the sword.
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Al and W: the Opera