|One of the many gay rituals of the 1970's
was the "disco nap", a couple hours
of sleep grabbed after (or instead of) the gym to set you up for a night
of debauchery-- say, dinner, then the opera,
followed by dancing, then a visit to a leather bar, finally ending up at
the Mineshaft or the St. Mark's Baths. If you were still conscious by then,
you'd notice the sun rising over the Meat Packing District.-- just enough
time to grab a quick shower before stumbling into work and starting the
whole process over again!
Times have certainly changed since then -- like, for one thing we're all 20 years older! Now, when the occasional urge to party arises, our biggest logistical problem is not so much waking up at the appointed hour-but staying awake until you can choke down that first cup of Gay Coffee. But you can get self-destructive with no trouble at all if you will just program your sound system to rouse you from your slumber with one of the following
Zweite Brautnacht! -- a Strauss aria (from Die Aegyptische Helena ) which besides being musically loud and exhilarating, is based on a text rhapsodizing on the joys of all-night cavorting while fucked up on party favors. Is Mr. Hoffmansthal trying to tell us something? Try Leonie Rysanek's recording from Legato Classics -- pure B-major ecstacy, with the diva "taking a vacation on every high note."
Bolero from Les Vepres Siciliennes. Beverly Sills bubbled her way through the recording of this killer aria with flu and a fever of 103-- so you can very well quit whining and get your ass out of bed!
Act 1 finale from Norma -- the aptly-named GALA recording catches the divine Callas at her peak, opening La Scala's 1955 season, in collaboration (or competition!) with del Monaco and Simionato. If Maria's longest ever, loudest ever high D doesn't shock you into action, you'd better call the paramedics!
Hotel - This tres louche Poulenc song as sung by Regine Crespin asks the musical question, "Hey, what's ze hurry? Eet's not even midnight yet! Je ne veux pas travailler; je veux fumer!"
The Italian Street Song-- sung by Eleanor Steber, the archetypal diva-as-broad. This lady outzings everybody-- even Sills: La Steber's perfectly-placed high C is the aural equivalent of a line of cocaine snorted off an ice-cold silver mirror.
Vicino a te -- Franco Corelli and Renata Tebaldi, the loudest duet ever. Rumor has it that Stephen Spielberg sampled this couple's high A's and B's to use in Jurassic Park to simulate the sounds of dinosaurs fucking. (PS: that's a good thing)
So, girl, open those eyes, and jump in the shower! And may this evening end as noisily as it began!
This list (which originally appeared in parterre box , the queer opera zine) was inspired by the television showing of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, with its nostalgic evocation of '70s gay life.
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