At least your life is not an opera

@postaday 49, #postaday2011

If you have one of those lives that could be an opera, my sympathies.

Sure, we all would love to imagine what our soundtracks might be. I’ve seen enough extra stuff on PIXAR productions and those of other movies about how and why they were made, and the reasons for the twists in a tale (I always want to write tail there, but I right it to tale). And I’ve been told by more than one teacher that Shakespeare wrote for the lowest common denominator, hence bawdy and fun women in second- or third-tier roles such as Audrey in “As You Like It,” or the nurse in “Romeo and Juliet.”  I am grateful Mr. Gowan, one of my English teachers back at Holy Cross in Delran, N.J., taught us “Beowulf” and “The Canterbury Tales.” Accessible, fun, and surely they paved the way for the joy of Monty Python’s Flying Circus!

So given that background, and a taste of Wagnerian opera from my University of Hawaii German professor, it was with skepticism that I noted in today’s New York Times a headline for a review of the newly staged opera, “Anna Nicole.”

But think about it. All the elements that make for a fine opera are there: A woman who claws her way out of her dirt-between-the-toes beginnings and becomes a super model, a Playboy centerfold, the wife of a wealthy man 63 years her senior, as well as a neglectful mother, an unstable patient buoyed by drugs, which eventually end her life. And of course, it includes various supporting characters who shared Anna Nicole‘s life road.

This morning as I was walking away from Starbucks, I heard a man ranting and swearing. He was headed in my direction. In the past I have locked eyes with similar people, and I have learned that it is always a mistake. So I looked away as he approached me. Two women smoking cigarettes on the wall by Wal-Mart probably gave him stink eye, as he spewed his profanities at them. I don’t even think he noticed me.

I often think when I’m in Wal-Mart, or when someone sends the link to “People of Walmart” Website, that someone famous worked there: Anna Nicole Smith. Her life has been examined and re-examined. The opera, which according to reviewer Anthony Tommasini doesn’t canonize her, gives us a voyeuristic opportunity to be grateful that we never became famous, never married old money, never had a boob job or depended upon prescription drugs. None of it made her life any better. Apparently, the show is well done and worth seeing. Perhaps such a tragic opera could be a lesson for today’s youth?