Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Deak Tetralogy

The Deak novels are the comical autobiography of an all time great rock superstar and musical legend.  Deak tells his life story by explaining his lyrics and describing the strange people and ridiculous events that shaped his life and inspired his songs.  All four novels are complete and a fifth is in the works.

Born Deacon Downes in Reserve, Louisiana in 1960, Deak is a quixotic character who was inspired by the films This Is Spinal Tap and Bad News Tour.  He is a musical prodigy who achieves early and life long stardom at the age of five fronting his first band, Deak and the Ducks.

The first novel, The Deak, introduces the hero and details his life in New Orleans until age 21, and describes his birth, his early music and Bourbon Street shows, his years as a child and teen star and the tragic ending of his first marriage.  The table of contents and first five chapters follow below.

The second novel, The Second Book Of Deak, spans the years 1982-1985, with Deak relocating to a Laurel Canyon mansion to become part of the Los Angeles music scene.  The link leads to a very detailed synopsis and sample chapters.  The arc of the second novel is Deak’s accidental, unwanted and utterly absurd feud with Michael Jackson that stretches on for several years.  The novel (and Deak’s feud with MJ) concludes on July 13, 1985 at the Wembley Stadium site of the international Live Aid benefit concert. 

Because Deak's peers are rock music royalty, some story lines involve real musicians and events, like the aforementioned Michael Jackson and the Live Aid Concert.  Also appearing in no particular order are Paul and Linda McCartney, Freddie Mercury, James Brown, Prince, Bob Geldof, Elvis, Lionel Richie, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Brian Wilson, Elton John, Flea and Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Smiths, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin and more.

The third novel, Deak the Third, picks up in London with Deak at the Live Aid concert.   Follow the link to read a synopsis and sample chapters or scroll past the table of contents to read the opening of the first novel.

The Deak

Table of Contents


1)   In the Beginning, There Was the Deak
2)   First Kiss, First Song
3)   Rolling Into New Orleans
4)   Bourbon Street
5)   Deak and the Ducks
6)   Eulogy for Yulelog
7)   My Guitars
8)   Persephone
9)   Marvin the Midget
10)  Quack, Quack, Goose
11)  Storming the Charts and the Country
12)  My Vegas Debut
13)  In Cognito
14)  The First Second Coming of the Deak
15)  One Man Band
16)  I Parade Around the Earth
17)  World Dance Party
18)  Ricky Venunziano
19)  Deak and the NPS Express
20)  My Blue Period
21)  Deak in the Country
22)  Razzmatazz
23)  The Rock of Deak
24)  The Orchestral Deak
25)  Cornucopia
26)  UFO
27)  I Am God
28)  Elvis
29)  Jesus
30)  Isabella
31)  The True Second Coming of the Deak
32)  With Podi in Madrid
33)  The Arguers
34)  My Baby
35)  The Birth of Isaac
36)  Upon This Rock
37)  Deak and the Invaders
38)  Ancient Melodies
39)  Trouble at Home and on the Road
40)  The Kookie Kola Fiasco
41)  The Belle Blossoms
42)  The Worst Night of my Life


Throughout my twenty six blessed years of life literally hundreds of people have approached me with the idea of collaborating on my biography.  I am always flattered they think highly enough of the life I’ve lived to want to document and share it with my fans and the rest of the world, but I’ve always chosen to decline for a variety of reasons.  The first is that although my musical career has been long, successful and illustrious—there is no shame, I am what I am—I have always been too busy continuing it to stop, reminisce and write.  And besides that, I’m still plenty young enough that I’ve never felt until just this morning actually (I’ve been confronting my mortality here in the hospital) that the events of my life, incredible as they’ve been—there is no shame, I am what I am—warranted the composition of a biography.
Also, in trying to maintain a shred of modesty I have always deemed myself unworthy of so self indulgent an undertaking: but even as I’ve just begun with this little preface, and given it a few minutes thought, I realize that all the anecdotes and stories of my romances, affairs and my  loves; the recording sessions, the tours and television appearances, the colorful promotional interviews and the scandals could meritoriously fill volumes.  I don’t mean to sound boastful, but that is the plain, unchangeable truth—there is no shame, I am what I am.
So why now?  Why does the Deak pause at this point in his life to write his story?  Another assortment of reasons, the foremost of which is that being laid up in traction as I am with fractured vertebrae and skull I’m going to have an abundance of idle hours on my hands for the next few weeks, making the moment certainly right.  And who better to write the story of the Deak than Deak himself?  (If you want to know why I’m busted up skip ahead to the song ‘Traction’ at the end of the third book, or use it as a literary device to keep yourself in you wish.) 
I am also writing it on the advice of my long time friend, lawyer and manager Larry, to counter ongoing efforts to tarnish my image in the press.  These vicious, unwarranted attacks against my person are being perpetrated by what I call ‘envious wannabes,’ base scoundrels who have long waged an unfair war against the Deak.  People filled with desire but lacking talent become critics, and critics are all too often jealous of the genius.  Much of what is published about me is rubbish and lies, sensational exploitations of my fame fabricated for the singular purpose of selling magazines and newspapers, and I have every confidence that when reached the verdicts in the libel lawsuits currently in litigation against some very high-profile publications will vindicate my character and good name. 
With regard to litigation, I, here at the outset, on Larry’s advice, must make several outright and unequivocal statements of fact.  With regard to the numerous paternity suits pending against me, women have been wrongly accusing me a fathering their children for years—money and fame make me a constant target—and I am confident the current raft of suits will be dismissed like the past ones and the many inevitably to come.  The charges of tax evasion against me are also wrongful—I have never cheated anyone out of anything, so much as a penny—but if by some strange and unforeseen quirk the courts decide that I do owe the government money I will abide by that decision and make haste to repair every last penny. 
The only crimes I have ever committed were trashing two hotel rooms in my wild adolescence, which damages I recompensed in triplicate.  Those two instances of vandalism are the only laws I’ve ever broken, and none others.  Nevertheless Larry has suggested, and I agree, that it will serve me well at this stage of my career to adopt a charitable cause, so a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book, and my next album, will be used to establish The Deak Foundation, to build a chinchilla preserve in an as yet undetermined corner of southern Texas.

Other than that let me just get on with it, trusting that my loving muse Persephone will guide my pen-wielding fingers as gracefully across the page as she has up and down the necks of my guitars all these years.  And since my life and music are so intimately entwined it seems logical that I tell my story by explaining my lyrics and describing the people and events in my life that inspired each song.  Peace out, rock on and love forever, my brothers and sisters.  And always remember—there is no shame, we are what we are.



Chapter 1
In the Beginning, There was the Deak

I was born in Reverse—I mean, Reserve.   Heh, heh—I get things backwards all the time!  Reserve is a small town in Louisiana about an hour west of New Orleans.  My father was a crawfish dealer and my mother a midwife, but as she understandably couldn’t midwife her own son, my aunt, who was also a midwife, held the honor of delivering me to the world.  Eight days later I was christened Deacon Evan Downes, but even the minister who dunked my head in the holy font called me Deak, and that’s how I’ve always been known.
While so many infant boys are nurtured with footballs and sports gear in their cribs by fathers that hope they will grow up to become great athletes, mine had the wisdom and foresight to lay a small guitar and six harmonicas next to me; and when she later introduced herself, I realized that my muse, Persephone, had provided him with the inspiration to do so, for which I praise and thank her constantly.
My memory dawned at the unusually early age of six months, although what I recollect was more like a vision I witnessed from the perspective of participant.  I was snoring and drooling through a nap while my parents entertained some friends in the next room.  A wind-up music box was playing ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ behind my head, which became the soundtrack of a dream.  The notes of the melody fell from fluffy clouds, dancing and flitting in the air above my face.  One by one they dropped onto my tongue, and as I sucked and chewed on the divine confections they filled my mouth with honeyed nectar, and made my whole being tingle in ecstasy. 
I had been cradling my little guitar as I slept, and when the music box wound down I immediately picked up playing where it left off, not missing a note, as if I were willing those succulent candies to keep floating down my throat.  When at last my belly was full I awoke to see my parents and their friends circled around my crib, staring down at me in awe.  I was still playing the song, finger picking it classical style, although I had embellished the simple music box arrangement with some very ornamental arpeggios, making my instrument sound more like a harpsichord than a guitar.  My audience of six was astonished, but to prove it was no fluke I repeated the performance on three different harmonicas, in the keys of C, B-flat and the chromatic, as I clearly recall.  That was the first inkling that I was a prodigy and my thrilled parents acted in a very according and appropriate manner.

Chapter 2
First Kiss, First Song

In many ways the next year and a half was one of the most painful periods of my life, for although my brimming brain was bursting with songs I did not actually write my first one until shortly after my second birthday.  In that meantime I versed myself in the rudiments of blues, jazz, rock, classical and improvisational guitar under the tutelage of Yulelog Henderson, the greatest of the fabled blind bluesmen of New Orleans.  My parents sent for him shortly after that first performance in the crib, and although he was immensely helpful to me in the beginning, when after just a few months he was learning more than he was teaching, and my father wanted to start charging instead of paying him for the lessons, his fragile ego revealed its flaws and he returned to the Big Easy in a huff.
I practiced every day for sixteen to twenty hours, mastering the guitar and harmonica while achieving high levels of competency on piano, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, a wide array of percussion instruments, and the acoustic double bass, which I had to play standing on a high chair.  I was able to hear a Mozart composition once and play it back perfectly before I could walk or talk.  But the whole time I was mastering the instrumental aspect of my craft the other remained trapped within my heart, as if locked within an inescapable prison where it ached and throbbed for release.  I speak, of course, of songwriting—how I wanted to sing for the joy of love and the sorrow of love lost, to elicit a chuckle or inspire a thought, to be clever and witty, and all the messages of peace and love I wanted to sing that would change the world forever. 
But I was still barely able to communicate to my parents when I was lonely for a hug and when I was hungry or needed a changing, or just plain tired and ready for a nap.  And although it was for all those reasons and more that I yearned to speak, the most powerful drive and desire I had to master the English language was so that I could commence producing the art for which I had been created.  Fortunately during those early years—and ever since—every time my frustrations reach an intolerably painful pitch Persephone always appears in my ears softly singing,  “Patience…Deak…patience….  Everything in its time…first the blade…then the ear…then the corn.”
How right she was, for an event occurred just after my second birthday that triggered the inspiration for my first song, but more importantly uncorked the bottled up geyser of music that has gushed to this very day.  It was my first smiting by a pretty face, and I will follow the lyrics of ‘Chrissy Kissy’ with the story behind them.

Chrissy Kissy

She was the girl next door to me,
I was the boy next door to her,
And when our mothers got together for tea,
One thing was for sure....

They’d leave us alone in the playpen
And go out on the lawn;
Then we’d start singin’ and laughin’ and
Dancin’ the moment they were gone.
And I’d cry....

Chrissy!  O Chrissy!
Come give some kissy kissy!
Though we’re only two
We know what to do,
And if I could talk I’d shout, I love you!

Our secret tryst went on for weeks,
They knew not of our love,
And how we two were sometimes one,
Like a hand and glove.

Then one day they caught us
With our diapers at our knees,
And snatched away and tore us apart,
Despite our gurgling pleas.

I never ever saw her again,
And her pretty little bangs,
But I think of her every now and then
And my poor heart pangs,
And I cry....

Chrissy!  O Chrissy!
Come give some kissy kissy!
Though we’re only two
We know what to do,
And if I could talk I’d shout, I love you!

The lyrics pretty much tell the whole tale.  Chrissy’s real name was Annabella Gumm, and her family lived next door to us.  Our mothers were friendly neighbors who took tea together two or three times a week, and while they were in the kitchen or out in the yard Annabella and I were left alone in the playpen.  The first few occasions were harmless enough, though only because I was too naive to read the lust behind the gleaming twinkle that appeared in her eyes every time she looked at me.  Then one afternoon, while I was enjoying a little siesta, she crawled into my arms and started smothering my face and neck with her lips.  It was my first passionate kiss, and it whet my palate for the many more I would soon enough be giving and receiving fast and furiously; but after only that single glorious eye opening kiss the Fates conspired against us and, as I sing in the song, we were torn from each other’s arms and smothered in our over protective mothers’.  She never came over again and two weeks later the Gumms moved to Cheyenne, taking Annabella away from me for what I thought was forever.
By more than coincidence I did run into her twenty two years later in Pasadena on the Big Hair tour.  What an indescribably lovely reunion.  She had been through two broken marriages, and confessed that she had always wondered what might have been had we stayed together, and showed me the ‘Deak’ tattoo that she had sported on her ankle for ten years.  She hopped aboard the tour bus and we spent a marvelous weekend together at our three sold out San Francisco shows.  Also, I played harmonica on a remake of ‘Chrissy Kissy’ a few years ago with The Shakin’ Sidewinders that was a minor hit on the Japanese charts for six or seven weeks.  

Chapter 3

Rolling Into New Orleans

For the next six months I remained holed up in the house playing and writing.  I composed roughly one hundred songs that, for lack of proper equipment, and my inability to speak words yet, were never recorded.  I remember every last one, and have used bits and themes from them in other songs over the years, and some day if I have another child or more I plan to record a selection of them for a children’s album.  For the curious, here are a few of their titles:  ‘My Sippy Straw,’ ‘The Six Fingered Fist,’ ‘Little Girls and Mini Skirts,’ ‘Pacify Me Baby,’ ‘Moo Cow Blues,’ ‘Cookies and You,’ ‘Cartoon Faces,’ ‘Take You to Neverland,’ ‘Blue Suede Shoe Blues,’ ‘Turn Me in the Hay,’ ‘Pretty Little Booties,’ ‘In My Crib,’ ‘Tie the Clock, Set My Shoes,’ ‘Dinner Belly Rings,’ ‘Belching in Rhythm,’ and ‘Naptime Lullaby’ among others.
At last my tongue string loosened and the songs began to pour out and I was just a month shy of my third birthday when my parents and I agreed I was ready for my public debut.  We booked a local men’s club hall for the performance and the turnout was disastrous.  Although I had an audience of exactly ten that night I played as though they were a hundred thousand, and my heart pumped gallons of sweat from my heart before I had finished.  Quite simply, I blew them away, they spread the word like wildfire and the next night the hall was stuffed to capacity, with hundreds more crowded at the doors, some of whom had come from as far away as five hundred miles away to hear me play.  At that second show they demanded seven encores before giving me a forty minute standing ovation and my life was never again the same.
Only the best manager and lawyer the music business has ever known, Larry Hymes, was in attendance at that show.  The overwhelming turnout of that second show produced an equally overwhelming pile of receipts, and a dispute about their division naturally arose between my father and the owner of the hall.  Larry was a man of imposing stature and a lawyer who spoke fluent legalese.  He overheard their argument, intervened on my behalf, puffed his chest and tossed out a few legal phrases and in moments reached a settlement with the manager even more favorable than my father had been seeking.  We entered into an agreement with him that night and immediately set about launching my career.  The first decision we made was to move to New Orleans where I could front a band on Bourbon Street, a hot, jamming scene that was consistently turning one incredible performer after another onto the national circuit.  As quickly as we could get our things packed and shipped ahead we were on a southbound train.
I remember viewing our venture into the unknown with trepidation and wonderment.  I was leaving behind my cozy creative cocoon to expose myself naked to the big city, to have with me as she pleased.  But I also knew the decision was right, that my family and I would be protected, and that the music of which I was guardian and dispenser would flourish and be embraced by a warm, welcoming world.  While those worries, fears and dreams crowded my tiny mind as the train trundled along, the rhythm and cadence of the rail infected me and I slipped into a meditative trance, and when we arrived at the station I took out my guitar there in the lobby and performed ‘Rolling Into New Orleans,’ which I had written in my head on the train.

Rolling Into New Orleans

Landscape window paintings pass by me on the train,
My melancholy mood plays in the patter of the rain.
I’m leaving home forever, never going back,
With nothing but a dream and a guitar in a sack.

Courage, son, my papa tells me,
As mama dandles me on her knee,
And even though I’m only three,
I’m quickly becoming a man.

Rolling into New Orleans,
Jazz parades and Dixie queens,
Hot corn bread, red rice and beans,
Hoping she’ll fit like perfect jeans.

I know there will be bumps and traps and ruts,
Diversions, ditches and pitfalls,
But I ride this train of life through the tunnel
At the end of which my muse calls.
She’ll smooth the hills to fill the valleys
And make water glass if there I tread;
She’ll quell the fires, cushion the rocks
And keep my mouth full of bread.

Courage, my boy, papa tells me,
As mama dandles me on her knee,
And even though I’m only three,
I’m quickly becoming a man.

Rolling into New Orleans,
Jazz parades and Dixie queens,
Hot corn bread, red rice and beans,
Hoping she’ll fit like perfect jeans...
Hoping she’ll fit like perfect jeans...
Hoping she’ll fit me....

There were about thirty people there in the station, and the moment I finished they burst into a loud cheer of whistles and applause.  “Encore!  Encore!” a man wearing a hat cried.  They demanded more, but I was a bit overwhelmed by their response, and so I nervously jammed a few instrumental bars of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel.’  That was met with more thunderous approval, and the same man doffed his cap, put ten dollars in and went round to everyone imploring:  “Come now!  Fill the hat!  That’s one hot little cat!  Fill the hat for that hot little cat!”  Then he came to us and insisted on knowing my name.
“I’m the Deak,” I squeaked.
He shook my hand, then stuffed it with the bills.  “Jacob Kilvenny.  You are incredible!  Where do you play?  You should play out!  I can line up gigs for you....”
Larry hastened to put his hand on my shoulder and protectively replied:  “He’s already under management.”  Then he whisked my parents and me away to a waiting car.  As we cruised to the house I counted the money—over one hundred dollars!  My starry eyes swelled with greed and shot Larry suspicious looks from where I sat in the back.  

Chapter 4

Bourbon Street

The house was one of Larry’s properties, on the corner of Dauphine and Toulouse, one block off Bourbon.  It was five comfortable rooms with a spacious music studio at the back fully outfitted with recording equipment and various instruments.  Both he and my parents were in adamant agreement that I be kept in seclusion until they figured out a way to smuggle me in and out of the house without belying my whereabouts to the many people who would surely be hounding me from the moment I debuted on Bourbon Street. 
Larry bade us goodnight and left, and then my parents began unpacking while I diddled with a mandolin.  It bored me quickly, however, as did all the other instruments in my new studio, for I only wanted to go outside and explore.  I was madly restless to do so, and ere very long couldn’t stand being cooped up one moment more.  I checked and found my parents conveniently upstairs preoccupied with their books, and so slipped unnoticed into the night. 
I followed the music like a wafting scent into the intoxicated crowd, wandering forward while gazing up and around me in total awe.  I was dazzled by the lights and the action, the pretty women, the drunken kissing and groping, and the music!  Jazz on the left, blues on the right, Dixieland straight ahead, all horns, drums and guitars, guitars, guitars!  It seemed like a paradise, but soon proved to be no more than a mirage.
I was feeling a bit thirsty, and still had all the money in my pocket, so I stopped at a beer stall and bought myself a cup of cola.  I wandered on through another crowded block, where I paused and listened to a couple of bands.  I have to admit I was disappointed, for although they had sounded good from a distance, upon closer scrutiny one could clearly hear that the instruments were out of tune and the musicianship generally sloppy.  It’s no secret that I love improv and open jams but these cats were all over the place like cars out of control!  The bass player sounded like he was following the guitarist in the bar next door, the drummer like he was keeping beat to the feet in the street, and I don’t know what that harmonica player was thinking but he would have sounded better if he’d had a kazoo or even a hollow bamboo shoot stuffed in his blowhole!  In short, it was a huge letdown of high expectations and I left that doorway despondent that the fabled music scene was, in truth, drunken discordant covers of the simplest standards.  But it did serve well in bolstering my confidence that I would very soon ascend like fresh cream to the top of that crop.
I briefly lent my ears to two more bands which proved no better, so I gave up on the music and started ogling the women.  My fledgling libido was racing like a horse and I longed, yearned, craved, ached and hungered like I was in a famine for a kiss from any of the hundreds of women streaming by me with ruby lips, pearly teeth, dark eyes and dressed to the nines.  I wanted to try out one of the pickup lines I had been working on but I was too overwhelmed by the crowd—which was more than twice my height—and too self conscious to speak, and so I stumbled around with my mouth agape.  Then I suddenly felt myself snatched up into the air and found myself staring into one of the painted faces I had been lusting.
“What a cute little boy!” she said to her girlfriend then turned back and asked me.  “Where are your parents?”
Without the slightest reservation or hesitation I lunged, and in the next instant my mouth was pressed into hers giving it a deep, passionate kiss.  She resisted at first, then gave in for several seconds, then resisted again and gently moved me a few inches further away.
“Where did you learn to do that?” was her exasperated response.
“Chrissy?  Who is she?”
“Kissy!” I answered, plunging back in.
She indulged herself in a second and longer kiss, then swung me back off her face again.  By then my feet hadn’t touched the ground in three minutes.  “How old are you?”
“Three but that’s irrelevant,” I replied.  “Where are you two staying?”
“We have a room at the Monteleone…why?”
“What do you say the three of us go back there and play romper room?” I suggested.
They were shocked speechless by the idea, during which wordless moments I took a closer look into their faces and realized that they were much like the music—lovely and enticing from a distance, but up close the truth, which can never be truly hidden, revealed them to be time worn past their blooms, with sloppy makeup poorly disguising topographical maps of wrinkles and blemishes. 
I sighed in despair, but then thought:  Beggars can’t be choosers.  “Well, what do you say?” I asked, then mounted my third labial assault, this one on her friend.
We were interrupted almost at once by a stern, authoritative voice.  “Excuse me, but may I ask what is going on here?”
We turned to see a large, muscular, broad shouldered cop standing there with his stout arms folded across his barrel chest.
The woman who still held me suspended in the air tried to answer, but she couldn’t get two words from of her mouth so I spoke out.  “If you’d just look around you’d see plenty of other couples making out so why are you hassling us?”
“Because they aren’t doing it with three year old children,” he answered.
“I can assure you, officer,” I confidently replied, “that I’m a full grown man trapped in a little boy’s body.  I’m way beyond my years.”
“He does kiss like it,” the women said.
“What’s your name?” the policeman asked me.
“Deak,” I proudly replied.
“Deak what?”
“Not ‘Deak what?’” I cried.  “THE DEAK!  You’ll know me very well soon enough and will regret having treated me thus—I swear it!”
“Where are your parents?” he continued contemptuously.
“Man, what’s with the third degree?” I indignantly demanded, then insisted the woman set me down, which she did.  “Why don’t you go arrest some criminals instead of harassing the citizens you’re hired to protect, and with whose taxes your salary is paid?” I shouted up at him.
“Why don’t you learn to respect the law?” he rejoined.  “It’s a lesson I’ll be glad to teach.  What’s in your cup?  Are you drinking under age?”
He bent down to grab my arm, but I evaded his grasp with a quick step back and answered:  “It’s a moron and coke!”  I threw the soda in his face, then bit his wrist, kicked his shin and sprinted away calling over my shoulder, “Sweet adieu, ladies!  It’s been lovely!”
I never looked back, so I don’t know if he gave pursuit, but I do know he never caught me, as I was able to hide myself amongst and swiftly navigate the tangled legs of the crowd.  I slipped down a side street and walked back on Burgundy to our house on Toulouse.  My nerves were a bit frazzled from the whole experience, so I took several deep breaths before going in.  When I finally did, my mother flew across the room, swooped me up in her arms and smothered me with a suffocating embrace, crying, “O my baby!  Where have you been?  We were worried sick!  Your father’s out looking for you right now!  He should be back any minute, and we were going to call the police if you hadn’t showed up.  Where did you go?”
“Mother, I can hardly breathe.  Would you please stop blubbering and put me down?” I calmly requested.
She hesitantly acquiesced, saying:  “Now I thought we discussed that you weren’t to leave the house at all yet, least of all alone!  And at night!  You’re only three years old!”
“What can I say?  Curiosity got the best of me,” I replied.  She started to respond, but I interrupted.  “Look, I’m not your normal kid.  Do you really think God above would give me all these talents and then fail to protect me wherever I walk in this world?  This world I am here to sing to and about?  I think not.  Have a little faith!  Jeepers!”
And on that note I went into my studio, grabbed a guitar and hastily composed the song ‘Bourbon Street.’

Bourbon Street

City of fools!  Wicked charms!
Counterfeit jewels!  Spiritual harms!

See the pretty lights, how they dazzle the eye,
Attracting drunken moths to the streetlight stars in the sky.
And see the pretty women, how they make you dance,
Stirring thoughts of…mmm!  C’mon!  Take a chance!
And hear the strains of music drifting through the night,
But in this seeming perfect scene there’s something not quite right,
Lights are not stars,
Lust is not love,
Your guitars are out of tune
And you’re a crow not a dove.

It’s the marketplace in Babylon, Bourbon Street…
Where phony bologna muffalettas melt in the heat!
Anything that would be good is trampled by the feet
Of the drunken mindless zombies marching Bourbon Street.

Your smile beguiles!  All goodness has fled!
You work your wiles!  You’re the living dead!
Your streets are paved, but not with gold,
That’s beer and puke and rancid mold.
The air is warm, but your heart is cold,
And you have no soul because it’s been sold...

At the marketplace in Babylon, Bourbon Street…
Where phony bologna muffalettas melt in the heat!
Anything that would be good is trampled by the feet
Of the drunken mindless zombies marching Bourbon Street.

Chapter 5
Deak And The Ducks

Soon thereafter I held the first rehearsal with my first group, The Ducks.  They were accomplished seventeen year old twin brothers, Dicky and Duncan Duckworth, who played the bass and drums respectively, and the name Deak and the Ducks presented itself as obvious and natural. 
Larry had discovered them busking in Jackson Square and his ears proved to be as keen as his business savvy, for despite the differences in age and musical ability there was rarely an awkward musical moment between us:  we connected and clicked instantaneously, and they learned my songs as if they knew them already.  Even I was astounded at how well they gelled with my playing.  By way of introducing the band to the audience I wrote the eponymous ditty, ‘Deak and the Ducks,’ which was our first hit and our signature song.

Deak and the Ducks

We are Deak, Dicky and Duncan Duck;
I sing and play guitar to their quack and cluck;
We’re here to rock and to make a buck;
Don’t care what you think, no, we don’t give a duck;
Still we wish you all the very best of luck,
Sincerely, Deak and the Ducks…
Sincerely, Deak and the Ducks…
Sincerely, Deak and the Ducks…
Sincerely, Deak and the Ducks….

Robert Charest

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Chapter 3 Jonesy's Opera and Chapter 4 The Enlightening Son

Chapter 3
Jonesy’s Opera
While laid up in our beds, and when not up in his bed getting laid, Jonesy nurtured a burgeoning interest in opera and spent hours in his room studying the greats, from Monteverdi to Verdi to Wagner, from Tchaikovsky to Beethoven and Mozart.  Jonesy had been exposed to the musical form while married to his psychotic ex wife Lizaveta who stabbed him in Las Vegas.  Lizaveta was a Hungarian concert pianist and Jonesy had accompanied her on several tours of Europe.  He taught us the history of opera as he extolled its virtues and started jotting down musical themes and story ideas for one of his own.  I was intrigued and genuinely interested while Desmond utterly loathed and bitterly detested opera.  What follows is a composite dialogue between Jonesy, Desmond and me, culled and cobbled together from pieces of conversation over the several weeks of our convalescence.
I will begin this section with Jonesy’s version of the history of opera as he directly related it to Desmond and me. 
“Opera as a musical form was conceived and birthed at the very end of the sixteenth century in Florence, Italy at the same time Shakespeare was composing and producing his plays.  Florence was thriving economically and culturally and the birthplace of opera can be pinpointed to a very street address, on what is now called Via da Vinci. 
“It was there that a nobleman named Giovanni de’ Bardi lived.  De’ Bardi was a passionate patron of the arts and a composer, although his only surviving works are a handful of madrigals.  De’ Bardi founded a group called the Camerata in 1573.  The Camerata were a varied collection of men including composers, poets, humanists, writers, scientists, philosophers, artists, scholars and music theorists who met in De Bardi’s home and discussed intellectual subjects as sundry as astrology, literature, philosophy and music.  Their gatherings gradually garnered the reputation of hosting all the most famous men of Florence as frequent guests.[
“One of De’ Bardi’s main thrusts in forming the Camerata was as an effort to restore the aesthetic effect of ancient Greek music to contemporary Italian composition.   Music was intrinsic to the fabric of ancient Greek societies, and integral to their daily lives at marriages, funerals, religious rites and ceremonies, as well as part of the entertainment at theatres and accompaniment to the reading of epics.  The Camerata’s main goal was to influence and guide to Florence’s cultural development, with a particular partiality to the city’s music scene, which they sought to infiltrate with Hellenistic influence.
“Jacopo Corsi was a successful silk merchant and composer who was also one of Italy’s great patrons of the arts of the day.  His home was directly across the street from de’ Bardi’s and Corsi started his own society of thinkers and artists, many who were also members of the Camerata.  A fierce rivalry developed between de’ Bardi and Corsi, along with the ideas for incorporating music, singing, poetry, drama, costumes and design into a new art form.
“In 1598 the world’s first opera was performed at the Palazzo Corsi in Florence.  Dafne told the story of Apollo falling in love with the nymph Dafne.  It was written by Jacopo Corsi and his collaborator, Jacopo Peri.  Most of the music has been lost, although Corsi’s libretto is extant in its entirety. 
“Two years later in 1600 the world was introduced to its second opera, L’Euridice, which tells the tale of Orpheus rescuing his wife Euridice from Hades by taking suggestion from Venus and using his beautiful singing voice to plead with Pluto for Euridice’s release.  L’Euridice was also written by Jacopo Peri, with music by Giulio Caccini.  It was composed specifically for the occasion of the marriage of Maria de Medici of Florence to King Henry IV of France, and was dedicated to the new queen.  (Incidentally, while working on L’Euridice with Corsi, Caccini also wrote his own version of L’Euridice in collaboration with another librettist, which he published and debuted in 1602.  Caccini dedicated his version of the opera to Count de’ Bardi and the Camerata’s good years.)”
Desmond interrupted.  “So you’re saying those rich pizza spinning neighbors Corsi and de’ Bardi are responsible for the plague of opera?”
“I wouldn’t exactly characterize it as a ‘plague,’” Jonesy giggled as he answered, “but yes, history credits those two with its invention.”
“Then a pox on both their houses!” Desmond proclaimed.  “Corsi and de’ Bardi both!  If I was in their silly photography club I would have kicked their pathetic asses side by side down the Via da Vinci to the Appian and all the way to Rome where I would have scheduled a sellout show at the Coliseum and would have fed them to some lions at intermission.”
Jonesy and I were both cracking up.  “The Florentine Camerata was not a photography club,” Jonesy explained as he laughed.  “The earliest cameras would not appear for another century.  And I hardly think inventing opera justifies such a gruesome death.”
“The Devil it doesn’t!” Desmond exclaimed.  “And my only fear would be that the lions would spit out men of such nasty taste.  And the same Devil who oppresses the world with war and murder, famine, discord and disease also delivered us opera.  There were originally five horsemen of the Apocalypse, and he that sat on the fifth was named opera, sent forth to bedevil the ears of everyone on earth, but the Devil himself was so annoyed by his own creation that he cut opera’s head off, cut his horse free and cut the horsemen down from five to four.”
“That is some fast and loose game of hopscotch you’re playing across the centuries and literary traditions,” Jonesy observed.
“And your hypotheses are so silly that I can’t even begin to think how to respond,” I added, still gripped by the hilarity.
“How is true history as it came to pass silly?” Desmond responded.  “Go to the library and look it all up, or have one of the girls go for you. Or ask Orpheus—he met the Devil himself.”
“And which ancient Bible should I send her to for a fifth horseman of the Apocalypse named ‘Opera’?” Jonesy asked.
“It’s in one of the older ones—this chick from Bible College I hooked up with at a party showed it to me once,” Desmond confidently explained.  “It’s definitely out there in one of them…I saw it…I read it.”
We yucked it up along those lines for a few minutes then Jonesy resumed his story.
“Anyway, when Persi’s version of L’Euridice was performed at King Henry’s wedding it was a disaster,” he continued.  “The storyline of Orpheus pleading with the Devil for his wife’s liberty could not have been more unsuited to a wedding day celebration.  However, two of the guests at the wedding were Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga and his secretary Alessandro Striggio.  Duke Gonzaga was one of the most powerful men in Europe, and lived in and ruled his empire from his palace in the northern Italian city of Mantua.  Striggio was a writer whose father was a composer.  As they traveled home from the wedding they were impressed with the new musical form and discussed commissioning an opera of their own.
“Already working in Gonzaga’s court was a certain musical genius named Claudio Monteverdi.  He was a priest who wrote sacred music, as well as a vocalist and violist who had been promoted from music director to court conductor to master of music.  He composed L’Orfeo, a variation of the Euridice story with a tragic ending, where Orpheus’ sublime singing wins his wife’s liberation from Hades on one condition from Pluto: that Orpheus not look back as he leads Euridice out of the underworld.  Doubtful that his wife is following behind, Orpheus violates the condition only to turn and see Euridice fade away forever.”
“Well those were some stupid plot choices, weren’t they?” Desmond observed with feigned haughtiness.  “If Monteverdi was a priest why didn’t he exorcise Orpheus of the demon that forced him to venture into Hades in the first plae?  If Euridice was in Hades it was for a reason, so even if he did manage to rescue her the high recidivism rate likely would have brought her right back to hell anyway.  What a couple of knuckleheads—Monteverdi and Orpheus.”
“And now you’re mingling real historical figures with fictional characters in your leaping around the centuries,” Jonesy pointed out; “16th century Italy, ancient Israel and mythological Hades.”
“That’s what opera does to the brain,” Desmond warned.  “And you’d better be careful you don’t inflict permanent damage on your own by writing one of those accursed musical abominations.  I’ve read of more than one talented composer who tried his hand at opera and either crippled his mind so badly he could never play the same again, or he simply went mad.”
“I’ve contemplated and accounted for the worst possible outcomes of every risk, and am willing to hazard them,” Jonesy responded to Desmond, then concluded his brief history of the origin of opera.  “Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo was the world’s third opera, and is a masterpiece that is performed to this day.  L’Orfeo was premiered in 1607, and Monteverdi followed it in 1608 with a second success, L’Arianna.  “When Duke Gonzaga died in 1612 Monteverdi was immediately terminated from the court by Gonzaga’s son.  Monteverdi moved to Venice where he lived out his life, and when he died in 1643 there were 19 thriving opera houses in Venice alone.”
“Opera truly revolutionized the music world of the day much the way rap and hip hop instantaneously and overwhelming turned contemporary music on its head a few short years ago.  But perhaps the most monumental shift that opera brought to the music world was that for the first time high art wasn’t just for the aristocratic class. Opera became the people’s music, where many more could afford tickets.
“That all sounds good, but that’s not why opera was invented,” Desmond declared.  “All the screaming and shouting disguised as singing is to hide the flaws in mediocre voices and so they can be heard by several more rows of cheap seats.  It’s all about the money—just like every aspect of entertainment always has been and ever will be.”
“I will agree with your assertion that it is in part money driven—as is all entertainment—but I will disagree that performers sing loudly to hide flawed voices.  Mozart and Beethoven did not write for broken throated baritones and tinny tenors, I assure you.  Be that as it may, following that, as the form evolved, it was utilized for a variety of purposes that transcended entertainment and influenced politics. It was a way for the people to communicate with their rulers: a composer could tailor his story to a message he wanted to reach a king or duke; likewise, when rulers discovered the force of the passion opera inflamed in its many fans, they used it to stir nationalistic fervor, as Wagner did in Germany and Verdi in Italy.
“I have long dreamed of writing a proper rock opera as I’ve never actually heard what I imagine.  The problem with rock operas is that they are all rock and little opera,” Jonesy complained.  “I’ve never actually heard a proper rock opera, as I hear it in my inner ear.  Jesus Christ Superstar is the best of the lot, and the closest to my imagination, yet I still find myself craving a different balance between the rock and the opera.  I want guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and screaming rock vocals of course, but I want that integrated with a full orchestra accompanying authentic bass, tenor, alto and soprano opera singers. 
The rest of the ‘rock operas’ redefine rather than adhere to the word ‘opera’ and most would be better classified as musicals.  They are also sadly lacking in the rich, varied and complex storylines that are centuries old opera tradition as found in such classics as the Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Pagliacci and Don Giovanni.  Arguably the most famous ‘rock opera’ can be summarized in one plain sentence:  the story of a blind mute pinball playing boy who gains his sight to see he owns the high score rocked out with three note guitar solos.
“Within opera there are two distinct genres: opera seria are serious operas, tales of heroes, love and tragedy; and opera buffa are all about comedy.  I’ve been outlining in my head and sketching down an opera containing elements of both, with both blatantly comical and highly dramatic scenes.
“And the singers audition for roles based on a sophisticated system of vocal classification.  There are three basic women’s voices—soprano, mezzo and contralto; and four men’s voices—countertenor, tenor, baritone and bass.  But each of those seven is further broken down according to subtler vocal characteristics.  For example, the soprano voice has typically been used as the voice of choice for the female protagonist of the opera since the latter half of the 18th century. Earlier, it was common for that part to be sung by any female voice, or even a castrato—yes, eunuchs—but there are several types, with different soprano voices required for different leading roles: coloratura sopranos have a very high range and great vocal agility; lyric sopranos have voices that are light and filled with grace and youthfulness; and dramatic sopranos have rich, powerful voices that are more suited to highly emotional roles.
“The breakdown of mezzo sopranos is just as specific.  Mezzo soprano is a darker, heavier voice, and the roles written for mezzo soprano are generally akin to a supporting actress or actor in a film; coloratura mezzo soprano voices exhibit warmth on the low registers and great agility on the high registers—they often sing passages that are highly ornamental and rapidly reach thrilling high notes; the lyric mezzo soprano voice is smooth and dolorous, and also suited to trouser roles (parts written for women dressed as men); and dramatic mezzo soprano voice has a strong medium register and a warm high, and is broader and more powerful albeit with less dexterity.  It is often used in roles of older women, mothers, witches and other evil characters.
Contralto is the low end of the operatic range of the female voice.  A long standing joke is that contraltos are awarded the roles of witches, bitches and britches—britches refers to trouser roles, male parts sung by women dressed as men.
“As for the male voices, countertenor is the highest end of the male range, and some countertenor parts are actually written for women but sung by men.  The countertenor is commonly used in opera, and other countertenor roles were written specifically for castrati – men neutered at a young age to give them a higher singing range.  The tenor is next, and always plays the role of the lead protagonist.  Tenor is followed by baritone followed by bass, where the basso buffos portray comical characters, as in buffoons.”
“Did you say there are idiots willing to castrate themselves to be able to sing opera roles?” Desmond asked in a highly dismayed voice.
“And they are very well recompensed for their efforts,” Jonesy explained.
“Those jewels are priceless that only a fool part with for any price!” Desmond declared.  “Opera makes fools of men; opera was invented by the Devil, the Devil feeds on fools and I am justified.  And to give them up, bag and all!  Don’t you see how perverted and abjectly depraved opera is, that a man will lop off his nut sack to sound like a woman when he sings the libretto of some stupid story about a guy who cuts his nuts off for the love of opera and then regrets his life as a castrati when the roles run out as he gets older and he dies a miserable death because he got deathly ill with a prolonged disease with no family to care for him?  Sherry, darling, a little hand, would you please?”  Desmond pointed to his rolling trap set, which was set up on a board nailed to a dolly.  Sherry was one of his nurses, and she rolled it to his right hand bedside.  He then set two bongos in his lap and had a cymbal to his left; she handed him his sticks and he started playing a simple, catchy beat over which he vituperated his contempt for opera with a song called ‘Things I’d Rather Hear,’ which was a rather hilarious rambling harangue ranted out over a very simple and catchy drumbeat.  Later on he would break into it during his drum solos in our shows, and would invite strangers onstage to sing his or improvise their own lyrics to the song, either of which was rather easily done as there was no structure to the song other than the infectious repetitive drum beat.

Things I’d Rather Hear
I’d rather hear the snap of a lubed rubber glove on a doctor’s probing pinky than a single note of opera!
I’d rather you remove my brain and chalkboard the inside of my skull and send a thousand miniature razor nailed harpies into my ear canals to scratch and shriek than to hear one tenth of a note of opera!
I’d rather you make my head a hive and sending in a buzzing swarm of angry wasps with enlarged and agitated stingers practicing their archery in my brain than to hear one one hundredth of a note of opera!
If the fat lady dropped dead forever after singing one note the world would weep for joy! 
If they let the fat lady start the show I might consider going, but until then I’d rather dance hungover with a jackhammer inside an echo chamber being beaten as a drum by a thousand spastic tribesmen than to hear one millionth of a note of opera!
I’d rather wrap my teeth in aluminum foil and have someone play them like xylophones with rock hammer mallets than to hear one billionth of a note of opera!

During our bedridden weeks Jonesy jotted down enough material for his opera that when he was finally up and about he sat down at the piano and with a guitar and determined to finish it.  I genuinely enjoyed what he was writing, and ended up being his collaborator on large sections of both the music and libretto.  Desmond’s discomfort was obvious, but I decided that since our last two projects had been Desmond’s film and my album that it was Jonesy’s turn, and if he was inspired to write an opera, then that was determined of the muse and meant to be.
One night while Jonesy was at the piano working out some final passages of his opera Desmond softly knocked on my door.  He had a somber look and spoke in an uncharacteristically sober tone.
“We have to talk,” he softly said.
He sounded like the introduction to a breakup and I quickly replied: “Are you leaving the band?”
“I hope not and have no such plans!” he hastened to answer.
“Then what’s the problem?  Why so serious?  Are you sick?” I asked.
“Not at all, I feel great,” he said.  He then sat down and placed his face in his hands, and rolled his head around and slowly added, “I’m so afraid to say this to you.”
“Well you’ve brought it all the way to my face so it’s eventually going to be said,” I observed, “so you might as well out with it.”
He took a deep breath and unleashed a monologue like nothing I’d ever heard.  He was essentially blubbering without tears, although I thought a couple might escape (or be squeezed out).
“I can’t do the opera!  I want to do it, and I want myself to want to do and I’ve been trying to make myself want to do it but I can’t!  I’m not the right drummer for it, but now I’m afraid that by telling you this when you find the right drummer for the opera you might decide he’s the right drummer for your band forever and I am terrified that I will have made the biggest mistake of my life!  But I can’t and you wouldn’t want me to do it!  Oh my God!  Why this fork in my road?  Which way to turn?  You don’t understand what I’ve been through and why I wouldn’t be inspired.  You have no idea how much it kills me that I’m not the right drummer for this and how much it kills me to risk my career to have to tell you that but you don’t understand!  I have literally been traumatized by opera several times in my brief life.  My first drum teacher used to play Puccini in the background and he used to rap my knuckles with drumsticks every time I made a mistake.  I was so distracted by the Puccini playing that I made many.  Another time I met this chick on Bourbon Street who took me back to her room and locked me in from the inside and hid the key and played an opera record while she undressed and when I saw behind her mask I was horrified and I spent a traumatic night locked in an apartment making love to an ugly woman with opera playing all night!  When I was in high school we went on a field trip to an opera house to hear Pagliacci and my friend and I were accidentally left behind and while exploring the back halls and rooms we encountered the clown from Pagliacci who chased us all over the opera house threatening to have us arrested for trespassing and we barely escaped without being arrested!  So I’ve been thinking that you two should go ahead and finish Jonesy’s opera and do what you have to do with it and in the meantime I want to work on another surfer movie, although not just another surfer movie—it’s a blockbuster action picture with surfing in the background really.  I’ll write great parts for you and Jonesy with hot co-stars and I’ll make sure you both have plenty of everything you want in the film and while we make it.  Please just excuse me from this project and don’t kick me out of the band for it!”
He ran out of breath and I tormented him with silence as I pretended to seriously ponder.  Then I finally said, “Alright, you may be excused.”
“And I’m still in the band?” he responded hopefully. 
“Yes, you’re still in the band,” I answered.  “Even if we find a better drummer there will always be room for you.”
“Thank you, thank you,” he said, “and you won’t regret it.  The next movie is set in Hawaii—would you have a problem with that?”
“I can’t imagine why,” I replied.
“That’s fantastic,” he answered.  He quickly got up and stepped toward the door, as if to leave before I could change my mind.
“One thing before you go,” I said.
“What’s that?” he leerily replied.
“You made up all those childhood and adolescent traumas, didn’t you?”
He paused, then smiled, then confessed and said, “Yes.”
“Good stuff,” I responded.  “Apply that imagination to your screenplay.”

Chapter 4
The Enlightening Son
The tale of Giacco and Rosetta
A rock opera
Music and libretto by Jonesy with Deak

Giacco – a pure tenor capable of falsetto
Rosetta – a coloratura soprano with the vocal agility to also sing lyric and dramatic soprano.
Child Rosetta and Child Giacco are the same.  Young Giacco can be performed by a young female contralto as a trouser role if necessary; likewise the role of young Rosetta can be playing by a male castrato if necessary and one is available.
Giacco’s mother Letizia -- dramatic mezzo soprano
Giacco’s father Guido – baritone tessitura
Professor Analini – dramatic countertenor capable of capturing the stiff whininess of the character.
Flavio – baritone
Basso Buffoon – basso buffo

The orchestra commences with a sustained low E in the dark.  The lights gradually come up as the orchestra breaks into the overture.  Onstage are two beautiful girls and two lions, one of each at each side.  If real lions are unavailable statues or paper mache will suffice.  The girls should be ballerinas dressed in classy bikinis, who start dancing with the stationary lions as the overture plays.  This has nothing to do with the story and is simply an attention getting device designed to captivate the audience from moment one.
Light shines on the chorus at the back of the stage.
CHORUS:  Welcome beloved audience, without whom we are naught,
Who requested our service with the tickets that you bought.
We are well rehearsed, prepared and when we are done
We pray that you won’t need demand a refund!
Your music is our voices while ours is your applause
Which we hope will be standing, long and without pause
And that you will tell your friends, your ma and yer pa
That you saw an entertainingly excellent opera.
We sing a tale of love—else who would care?
With betrayal and redemption also in the airs.
Our story is of corruption and power spread wide,
And the wedge inside the parent child divide
Our fortunate hero finds his wife
At the same time his mother finds a new life
While the father who forces the fate of his son
Is later visited by that same son in prison.
That is our prologue and now that it’s done,
To begin our drama, come what will come,
We first follow the ghost of Christmas into the past
To one of young Giacco’s yules, each like the last.
Thank you for coming and we pray that you stay
To the end before happily going your way.

Young Giacco and his parents, Guido and Letizia, are celebrating Christmas.  A corner of the stage is decked with Christmas decorations and a tree.
Letizia: “What would you like for Christmas this year Giacco?”
Giacco:  “The same thing I want every year!  If I sing it three times maybe my wish will finally come true…a guitar, a guitar, a guitar!”
Guido hands Giacco a present.  Giacco un wraps a piccolo.  Guido smiles; Giacco frowns.
Guido:  “You’ve been a good boy so we got you a piccolo!”
Giacco:  “Since I’ve been a good boy why can’t I have what I want?  A guitar…a guitar…a guitar!  Last year it was a viola, and before that a piano, and before that a violin, and before that a flute, and before that a trumpet!  This good boy wants a guitar, a guitar, a guitar!  Why can’t I have a guitar?”
Guido:  “If we give you a guitar this year you’ll be a bad boy by this time next!”
Letizia:  “Listen to your father!” 
Guido:  “Yes!  Listen to your mother and listen to me!  You have no choice anyway so you might as well enjoy it.”
Letizia:  “Learn the piccolo too!  You’re a prodigy!  A genius!  You could become one of the greatest composers ever!”
Giacco:  “I don’t want to compose symphonies for classical halls, I want to rock the world!  And the only way to rock the world is with a guitar, a guitar, a guitar!”
Guido:  “You can have a guitar when you’re old enough to decide for yourself!  Until then—“
Giacco:  “Until then you want to fulfill your childhood dreams vicariously through me, but if you replace your childhood with mine, what does that leave me?  I want a guitar! A guitar!  A guitar!”
Letizia:  “Your father and I have enrolled you in the conservatory starting New Year’s Day!”
Giacco turns his back on his parents and moves to center stage to sing ‘I Can’t Do Anything I Want.’
Giacco:  “When I say I want to go you say ‘stay,’
And when I do that you turn and say ‘go away.’
If I want to breathe, you plug my mouth and pinch my nose,
If I want to walk, you tie my ankles and my toes;
And when I want to see or hear,
You blind my eyes and clap my ears.
My parents from whom I should be learning
Rip the pages they should be turning.
I can’t do anything that I want!
I can’t!  I can’t!  I can’t!
If I had wings and learned to fly
You’d clip them off and make me cry!
And if I had fins and swam the sea
You’d bait a hook and rip that from me!
My parents who should be teaching me
Instead are over reaching with me!
I can’t do anything that I want!
I can’t!  I can’t!  I can’t!”
As he sang his tantrum ‘I Can’t do Anything That I Want’ young Giacco stomps around the stage, and finishes the song standing near a door side stage.
Letizia steps forward and sings:  “Where are you going?  Christmas day has only begun!”
Giacco:  “Back!  Get back!  Back off!  Get off my back!” he sang, then played a similar melody on his Christmas piccolo.  Then he sang more.  “Before I turn my back and leave forever!  Leaving you crying for me to come back!  The only back that will win me back is the back of a guitar, attached to the sides, front and neck!  Here’s my gift, you may have it back!”  He imitates the melody with the piccolo again then snaps it over his knee and scoffs as he tosses it onto the floor in their general direction.  He places his hand on the door know.  “Until then the only back you’ll see is mine!  I’m going back to the conservatory early and this time I may never come back!”
Giacco exits.
Lights go down.  Spotlight rear stage chorus.
The next scene in young Giacco’s tragicomic story
Harkens us back to the stale conservatory.
Giacco’s parents have instructed his instructor,
Professor Analini, the retentive conductor,
To forbid Giacco access to any guitars
And nosy Analini happily enforced their bar.
And so we find Giacco on a bench all alone,
Lamenting his life to his own piano.

Giacco : “What’s the point of learning to play piano beautifully when nothing in life is worth singing about?  Shall I complain more about what I cannot have?  That would be pointless—who would want to hear about it and why?  Who is entertained by the tears I cry?”
Enter Basso Buffoon.  “You play well, kid, very well indeed.  Have you ever tried your hand at one of these?”  Basso Buffoon opens his coat and shows a guitar, like a fence.  “All the kids your age play the guitar, and certainly any musician who dreams of going far and becoming a star knows his way around a guitar.”
Giacco looks at it in awe.  “May I?  May I please may I play it?”
Basso Buffoon lays the guitar across Giacco’s outstretched arms and sings: “Sure thing kid, strum a few bars, at least enough to make you want your own guitar….”
Giacco reverently stares at the shiny guitar under the spotlight, then gathers it to himself and plays it like a natural.  Accompanied by the viola, piccolo and timpani, Giacco plays guitar and sings:  “Oh my life!  O great joy!   The holy grail of every musical girl and boy!  As I always knew it would it feels like a natural appendage and I feel complete!”
Basso Buffoon:  “You play nice, kid, real nice.  If I were King Saul or a wild animal I’d be feeling calm and tame by now.  You can have that one for one hundred dollars.  Hurry up and quick!  At that price it won’t be long before it’s long gone.”
Giacco: “One hundred dollars may as well be a million when I don’t even have one.”
Basso Buffoon:  “That’s a shame, kid.  If you come into some money I can get one any time.  But keep playing, you are a natural.”
The orchestra plays a low bass background theme and Giacco plays a blistering guitar solo until Professor Analini is heard offstage: “What is that noise?  That bloody awful noise?  That infernal cacophony?  That first degree assault on my ear drums?”  Professor Analini runs onto the stage and rips the guitar from Giacco’s hands.  “Guitars are forbidden to you in the conservatory.  That’s your parents order and ours to heed.  It is a base contraption producing harsh sounds that grates the ears like cheese.  You just earned yourself one hundred hours of scales my prodigal prodigy.  And as for you….”
Giacco watches horrified as Professor Analini smashes the guitar down over Basso Buffoon’s head.  As he thrashes Basso Buffoon with the guitar and chases him from the stage, Professor Analini sings: “I will not suffer this distraction one moment more, my pupil could be improving instead of wasting time with your like…back to the gutter with the rats with your type, polluting this place of music with distracting noisemakers!  Return whence you came, to your den of pimps, opium and dope dealers, cutpurses and cut throats, you are the worst of the worst, the scummy underbelly of society and I won’t have you ‘round here tempting my students with distractions!”
Basso Buffoon: “Help!  Help!  I’m under assault by a deranged madman music teacher!  Police!  Police!  He stole my guitar which he is now using to assault me!”
As Professor Analini is thrashing and chasing Basso Buffoon around the back of the stage, there comes a knock at the door far stage from Giacco.  The door opens slightly and Rosetta sticks her head through.  Rosetta sings: “Professor Analini?”
Giacco is love struck and stares across the stage dumbfounded.  She looks around the stage for Professor Analini until she sees Giacco, and her face takes on the same expression as his.  Professor Analini returns from the rear stage with a guitar neck with some strings dangling holding some bits of broken wood from the body.
Professor Analini: “I will not have my star pupil distracted by ANYTHING…!”
Professor Analini tosses the guitar neck onto the stage then notices Rosetta and sings:  “Who are you?”
Giacco: “The sweetest distraction!”
Professor Analini immediately discerns Giacco and Rosetta’s powerful attraction and frowns with scorn.  He looks at Rosetta and sings: “Who are you?”
Rosetta:  “I’m a first year student, I play flute, piano and guitar.  The administrators sent me to find you…I need to be oriented.”
Professor Analini practically pushes her out the door while singing: “Attraction is distraction, that will not do!  Objects that attract are trouble for the heart!  They must not distract!  They must be kept apart!
Lights fade to the chorus.

Chorus:  ‘Analini wrote to Letizia and Guido
All he thought they needed to know
How Giacco had managed to touch a guitar
While catching the eye of a pretty young girl,
Bitten by both, Giacco was twice smitten,
Which was the why Analini had written.
Guido was a hard man, austere and puritanical,
Who sadistically enjoyed being tyrannical.
A long serving senator who’d written many harsh laws,
Punishing people for the slightest guffaws,
While Guido and his cronies gorged their faces off
At the taxpayer funded feeding trough
Corrupt to his very heartless core,
Guido had never stolen enough when he could steal more.
Analini further explained about Rosetta,
How Giacco’s eyes popped the moment he met her,
And further that her father was one of his rivals,
A liberal senator starting a revival
To spend taxes on the people who paid them
Instead of foul politicians who railroaded and waylaid them.
His name was Gonzago; Guido knew him well
And hated him with a heart of all the hounds of hell.
He hired a bodyguard and ordered Analini
To exercise all power to come between
Giacco and the guitar and the girl:
Classical composition was to be his entire world.
And so we find Giacco seated in his jail
Working off the hours of his punishment of scales.”

Giacco is seated at the piano playing scales in A minor.  After several he expresses his boredom and begins half heartedly embellishing them as the orchestra gradually joins in behind him.
Giacco:  “All I can play are scales, all my passion is gone.  Life isn’t worth living in this lonely world of mine.  My fingers long for a guitar and my lips for Rosetta, and until I have either or both my life will get no better….”
Rosetta knocks at a window across the stage.  She is smiling and holding up a guitar.  Giacco’s whole face lights up and he runs across the stage and throws open the window. 
Giacco: “Oh greatest moment of my life, Rosetta and her guitar!”
Rosetta:  “Catch me if you can!”
She runs toward backstage; he climbs through the window and chases after.  They continue singing as the run behind the stage.
Rosetta:  “You can’t catch me!  Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Giacco:  “Unless you run faster you’re both as good as mine!  Ha ha ha ha ha!”
There is a brief silence and the stage goes dark.  The lights comes up the opposite side of the stage, where Giacco and Rosetta are seated on the bed.  Giacco is strumming the guitar as Rosetta looks at him adoringly.
Giacco:  “O glorious, happiest moment of life!  Everything I’ve yearned for is finally delivered.  The guitar feels like an extension of my hands while I’m singing to Rosetta, the sweetest girl in the land!  I could sit here forever singing love to you!  Pouring forth my heart while pitching my woo.  Before I was lost and knew not what to do, but now I have found a guitar and you!”
Rosetta:  “You’re not alone in finding what you sought!  When you found me I too found you, and we two halves add up to two.  I’m so happy I’ll do what I want to do and kiss you!”
As they kiss a light shines on Professor Analini looking disapprovingly at them through the window across the stage.  He storms through the door followed by an enormous man, Flavio, the second Basso Buffo, who is the bodyguard Guido hired for Giacco.
Professor Analini: “Separate their lips!  This is a conservatory not a brothel!  Were it not for your father you’d be expelled this instant!  And regarding this instant, out of Rosetta’s room never to return!  Now!”
Giacco evades Flavio and Analini, grabs the guitar and Rosetta’s hand and climbs a staircase to a balcony at the rear stage beside the choir.  He strums the guitar and sings.
Giacco:  “Avast and away withered jealous old man—jealous of my youth, jealous of my talent and jealous of my beautiful woman, which you probably never had and surely never will.  Jealousy ate the wrinkles of misery in your face, jealousy painted your eyes green and jealousy has consumed your heart and soul.  I am young and green and you are old and green which is far more wretched and far more mean!  Away from us, jealous old man, and leave us be.  It is an evil sin to envy the happy.”
Flavio climbs the stairs and takes the guitar from Deak then encourages them to descend with his very large free hand.  Professor Analini looks at Giacco while pointing to the door.
Professor Analini: “Back to your own room for a very long timeout, with Flavio sitting outside your door.  Or if you’d rather you may go the piano and begin working off the additional hundred hours of scales you owe your parents and me!  You’re only lucky not to be my child because you would be thrashed for your shameless impertinence.  Flavio, please escort Giacco to his room or a piano allowing no DISTRACTIONS!”
Flavio leads Giacco toward the door. 
Giacco: “You can only stall time but you cannot stop the inevitable, Rosetta will be mine and we will be famous while you will be famously forgettable!”
Giacco’s eyes are fixed on Rosetta’s as Flavio forces him to exit through the door.  Professor Analini turns to Rosetta.
Professor Analini: “And as for you young lady, before you forge a name as a whore, a tramp, a harlot, a slut and a strumpet, I suggest you devote your attention to your oboe and your trumpet.  But before all that you’ll want to trim your nails because you too owe me one hundred hours of scales!”
Professor Analini sternly and emphatically exits. 
The lights go down on that scene and come up on the chorus.
Chorus: “Forward in time we march several years
Wherein Analini and Flavio have drawn many tears
From Giacco and Rosetta, by keeping them apart
And impeding the natural longings of their hearts.
Guido and Letizia were harder than ever
And vowed that it would be never or forever
Before Giacco was together
With a guitar or Rosetta.
We rejoin our story with Giacco scheming
How he might exploit Flavio to realize what he was dreaming.
He had come upon a way to talk his bodyguard
Into helping him get the girl and the guitar.”

The lights come on with Giacco and Flavio.  Giacco is playing the violin accompanied by the orchestra.  After a flashy solo he sets down his instrument and sings.
Giacco: “Flavio, have you ever been in love?  Surely you’ve suffered from pitter patter heart, exhaling endless sighs, loss of appetite and concentration with the burning mind singularly focused on the yearning for a beautiful woman….”
Flavio: “I have, master Giacco, and more than once.  Thinking back on them still brings back sighs.”
Giacco:  “Then surely you can sympathize.  Rosetta and I are meant to be together, so why not help us to that end and become our friend when you and I and God above know how deeply Rosetta and I are in love?”
Flavio: “I am doing my job.  Your father pays me well and I do have this rather copious belly to fill.”
Giacco: “They who worship money are servants to the Devil.  How much is my father paying you?  Trust me now and someday soon I’ll pay you more than double.”
Flavio: “You’re a wily lad, to tear at me with philosophy, offering me more of the cakes you just said forsake a man.”
Giacco: “I offer much more than money, Flavio; I offer friendship and love also, mine and Rosetta’s.  God’s currency of love is precious and priceless.  Help me get a guitar then help me get the girl, and as you change ours so will we change your world.  Rosetta and I are destined to start a band through which we will gain riches and fame.  You’ve seen me play, do you doubt me for a moment?  Have it your way, one way being when our famous band goes on tour, our friend Flavio could be head of security.”
Flavio: “I can’t take it anymore!  My heart has been breaking as I’ve been helping break yours and Rosetta’s.  Your father is nasty, mean and cheap and I would rather work for you.  What is it you would like me to do?”
Giacco:  “Help me escape this room for the afternoon. I must go see Basso Buffoon.  I’ve scrimped together fifty bucks over the past few years and hope that is enough to buy a guitar.”
Flavio: “Play a tape of you playing and climb out the window; here’s another fifty so you can get a better guitar, while you’re gone I’ll guard the door, master Giacco.”
Giacco plays a tape then hastily exits the window.  Moments later there is a loud knock on the door and Professor Analini can be heard withal.
Professor Analini: “Why is this door locked?  Open it this instant Giacco!  You are breaking the rule that it always be left open to me.”
Flavio:  “Master Giacco is composing and is not to be disturbed.”
Professor Analini: “I own this conservatory and the land it sits on every inch.  Open this door at once!  I demand and insist!”
Flavio opens the door then steps into and fills the doorway and sings: “Master Giacco is composing and is not to be disturbed.”
Professor Analini remains offstage and meekly replies: “I’ll just come back later.”
Lights down, then lights come up on the far side of the stage, where Basso Buffoon is standing in the street wearing a very bulky trench coat.  Giacco approaches.
Giacco:  “Basso Buffoon, my friend, there you are!  How I’ve dreamed of this day…my first guitar!”
Basso Buffoon:  “How you’ve grown since I saw you last!  It’s so good to see you and your money!  You did bring money?”
Giacco: “Of course I brought money!  That’s why I’m here!  I want the best guitar you can give me for one hundred dollars.”
Basso Buffoon opens the left side of his trench coat revealing an array of smaller instruments. 
Giacco: “Did I stutter when I said a guitar?”
Basso Buffoon: “I only have one guitar and it can be yours for the hundred.  It plays beautifully, it’s the musical equal of vintage wine.  There is only one problem….”
Basso Buffoon opens the trench coat to reveal a hot pink strat. 
Basso Buffoon: “It’s hot pink.  But if you like it you can always paint it over….”
Basso Buffoon hands Giacco the guitar.  He straps it on and starts playing.
Giacco: “My la la la la lovely precious guitar!  Hot pink, purple or red and black, I don’t care what color you are!”
A crowd begins gathering to hear him sing and Basso Buffoon sets out his hat.
“Hot pink is one of many hues on which one can play the blues!  Hot pink can sing the news!  Hot pink complements blue suede shoes!  A hot pink strat, nothing sounds better, and one day soon it will look great on Rosetta….”
When Giacco finishes his song the crowd immediately fills Basso Buffoon’s hat with money then disperses.  Basso Buffoon reaches for the hat but Giacco snatches the money out first.  He then quickly counts it, singing:  “There’s your hundred for the hot pink strat, and ten to rent your hat.”
He pockets the rest and finishes.  “Thank you and goodbye, Basso Buffoon, I have to get back to the conservatory.”
The lights go down and the stage vacates.  When the lights come back up Giacco enters the window, handling his hot pink strat with extreme reverence and care.  He hands Flavio some money.  “Your fifty became a hundred and there’s plenty more where that came from.  You work for me now, yes?”
Flavio: “Thanks boss.  What next?”
Giacco strums the guitar and sings: “My little rose, my sweet Rosetta and I and this hot pink strat are meant to be together and together to go far, we’re going to be superstars!  She is the flower who grew to the rays of my delight…and now I think about, and want to sing about her day and night!  God brings the rains which fledge the flowers adorning her hair,
Flavio: “As far as it lies in my power, consider her yours and I have already been thinking.”
Giacco: “Thinking, Flavio?  Do tell!”
Flavio: “Rosetta is singing in a chorale performance tonight.  If we sneaked you into a robe and into the choir beside her, you could sing falsetto and you two could sing side by side.  There’s a party afterwards and you could be together there.  If you want to do it I will get you a robe while you’re practicing!”
Giacco: “I do…I do want to do it, Flavio!  I want to sing to and beside my little rose.  Get me that robe!  Do get it for me please!”
Flavio: “I will and while you are singing with the choir I will guard your with the tape playing and tell anyone who comes that you are composing and to go!”
Giacco: “Thank you, loyal servant, faithful and true, for the robe, for your love and for all that you do.”
The lights go down. 
The lights come up rear stage.  A choir of women is standing on the risers where the chorus has stood previously.  Giacco is beside Rosetta, both batty eyed and smiling.  They sing ‘Awaken, my Love.’  Rosetta sings a solo in the middle.  Another girl is supposed to respond, but she gets a fly in her throat, or chokes and can’t sing, so Giacco seamlessly sings the line in her stead.
Awaken, my love, my sleeping heart, which lies in its cold bed dreaming of you.
Awaken my love and let us start the day with a glass of morning dew.

The lights go down.  When the lights come up there is a small party, including several girls from the choir still wearing their matching robes, including Giacco and Rosetta, who are standing apart from the others.
Giacco: “My beautiful Rosetta, we make beautiful music together, we should make it forever!”
Rosetta: “I’ve waited years for this, this tender kiss.”
They kiss and he takes her hand.
Giacco: “And I’ve waited years for this, this tender bliss.  Come, let us go get lost for a while before this party breaks up.  I have a special gift for you.”
He starts to lead her offstage when his mother Letizia enters and hurries to them.
Letizia: “Oh my darling!  You were stellar!  And you sing beyond the moon too dear!  You sing together magnificently!”
Giacco: “Mother, I’m happy to see you but what are you doing here?”
Letizia: “I came to bring you big news and a gift.  I went to Professor Analini and he told me you were holed up writing a symphony so I went to your room and after identifying myself to Flavio he explained the ruse and sent me here so I watched your concert before coming to see you.”
Giacco: “You know the ruse now what’s the big news?”
Letizia: “I’ve left your father…filed for divorce…and soon I’ll be looking to ride a new horse.  He’s a philandering adulterer whose true love is money.  He’s perniciously evil, vile and corrupt and after years of abuse I simply had enough.  A great weight is gone and I feel free and now I’m just another girl who wants to have fun.”
Giacco: “Mother, this is Rosetta.  We are soul mates.”
Letizia: “If you are the angel you sound like when you sing I know my son will have everything I’ve dream of for him.”
Rosetta: “I love Giacco and have waited for him since the moment our eyes met.”
Letizia: “I know that dear, and couldn’t be more pleased and I’ve also come to release you both from the conservatory!” 
Giacco and Rosetta’s eyes light up.
Letizia (cont’d): “You can only learn so much in sterile practice rooms.  You need life to inspire your music or your music will be lifeless.” (to Rosetta) I’ve spoken to your parents and they agree that you both need to be freed from the conservatory.” (to Giacco): “And I’ve spoken to your father and don’t care what he thinks, the papers are signed and you may both pack and leave tonight!”
Giacco hugs and kisses Letizia then sings: “Thank you, mother, that is a wonderful gift!”
Letizia to Giacco: “That’s not my gift, I left that back in your room.”
Giacco to Rosetta: “And I left your gift back in your room.”
Rosetta to Giacco: “Let’s go to your room.”
Giacco and Rosetta tear off their robes revealing street clothes as the lights go down.  When the lights come up Giacco, Rosetta and Letizia are in Giacco’s room, along with Flavio guarding the door. 
Letizia: “And now for your gift.”
She proudly reaches behind something and withdraws a guitar case, which she lays on the piano and opens.  The light shines on a gleaming guitar with the sunburst finish.  Giacco approaches and reverently lifts it from its case before strapping it on and strumming it.
Letizia: “Your pretentious father hates all guitars which made me love it all the more.”
Giacco strums a progression, then sings: “This feels perfect in my hands, custom made for me.  And now my gift to sweet Rosetta…Flavio, would you please?”
Flavio fetches another guitar, also lays it on the piano and opens it to reveal the hot pink strat.  Rosetta gently lifts it up and straps it on.  She and Giacco then plug into amplifiers that happen to be conveniently near and jam a song.  They start jamming and singing a rocking love duet together and to each other.  Letizia starts dancing around Flavio. 
Giacco and Rosetta:  “They were jealous of love and tried to keep us apart, delighting in the fact that they were aching our hearts, but now we’re together, maybe forever, and like two resurrected dead now our lives may start.”
There is a loud knock on the door.  Professor Analini enters and looks on in horror at the scene.  Giacco and Rosetta continue uninterrupted.  Flavio and Letizia start dancing together.
Giacco and Rosetta: “Behold the fruit of Jealousy, the withering wrinkles and misery.  He tried and failed and is filled with more hate, wouldn’t you rather party with us who happily celebrate life as great?  We bring together and we live for fun, we are uniters who gather everyone to sing and dance under the sun.  Our fun is never done because it’s always just begun…like our love, because our love won.”
Professor Analini: “What is this noisome abomination in my conservatory?  This is unheard of! Outrageous!  An obscene musical heresy!”
Flavio lifts him up with one hand and carries him to the door.
Flavio: “This is a private party and you are not on the guest list.  Try to get back in and I’ll show you how I handle crashers!”
Giacco and Rosetta play a rocked out variation on the main theme of the overture, accompanied by the full symphony.  Flavio and Letizia continue to dance, and several other people mysteriously appear and join the dancing before the lights fade.
Lights come up on the chorus rear stage.
Chorus: “Giacco and Rosetta packed and left that night.  They practiced the guitar like they embraced, until they were tight then found more musicians and formed a band which quickly found fame throughout the land.  Flavio the bodyguard also became their manager while Giacco’s mother Letizia became a wild groupie and none could manage her.  Freed from the confines of her marital hell she cut loose at Giacco and Rosetta’s shows until she fell…for Flavio.  They too fell in love and became inseparable and with both couples one thing became inevitable….”
Lights go down on the chorus and come up on Basso Buffoon standing on the street in his trench coat.  Giacco enters and approaches.
Giacco: “Basso Buffoon, old friend, it is a glorious thing!  I’ve fallen in love and need a ring!  I didn’t have a second thought on where to go to find one, I said to myself ‘Basso Buffoon is the man for your engagement diamond!”
Basso Buffoon: “Congratulations my friend and it’s good to see you too.  I have several diamond rings on me and I’m sure one is right for you.”
Basso Buffoon produces several rings from his pocket.  One in particular is simply gleaming.  Giacco picks it out and holds it up.
Giacco:  “This juicy, dripping diamond is the one, I knew you were my man.  How much?”
Basso Buffoon: “Three hours.”
Giacco: “What kind of price is three hours?”
Basso Buffoon opens his coat and reveals a guitar.  He hands it to Giacco then throws his hat on the ground.  Giacco understands and starts playing.
Giacco: “Just as smoke belies fire, and dark clouds the rain, where there is a ring there is a wedding, and you Basso Buffoon are invited for getting this ring of which I sing….”
Fade out.  The lights come back up rear stage upon the chorus.
Chorus: “To marry Flavio Letizia first had to divorce,
And her husband Guido had no remorse.
He spitefully fought for every last cent
And punished her with his vengeful bent.
But she won in court, and during the fight,
All his dirty political skeletons came into the glorious light;
Once by his spiteful wife he’d been bitten,
The law knew he had broken many of the same laws he’d written.
He was arrested and charged for all his filthy deeds,
And a judge and jury found Guido to be very guilty indeed.
He was sentenced to forty years plus one,
While despised by his ex wife and shunned by his son.
Letizia and Flavio, Giacco and Rosetta,
Then planned a double wedding, for what could be better
Than a mother and son who found love together
Be wedded on the same day to happiness forever?
Letizia invited the judge to the affair,
Who when he learned of the wedding thought it fair
To adjust Guido’s sentence, due to public outrage,
And ordered him to attend the wedding in a cage.”

Fade out.  The lights come up on a wedding reception.  The marriages have already taken place and everyone is celebrating.  Guido is seated at a small table in a corner in a tiny cage.  He is wearing only a loincloth and before him is his wedding dinner: a plate of raw liver and a glass of white vinegar.  The rest of the guests are mingling and dancing and enjoying themselves to the music of Giacco and Rosetta’s band, who are performing at their own wedding.  They finish a song then Giacco sings into the microphone.
Giacco: “I’d like everyone to stop by and say hello to my father.  Without his ardent desire that none of this come about, none of it would have.  He hates the guitar and he hated Elvis…but this is my wedding and I love both and so in honor of my disgraced father I’ve always dreamed of playing a Presley medley  on my wedding day.”
Guido:  “Woe is me!  I’m watching my son and ex wife’s weddings from behind bars I forged, with vinegar and liver for my feast.”
Giacco and Rosetta break into a version of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ which they segue into ‘Hound Dog.’  Letizia approaches her ex husband, toasts him with her flute of champagne then sings: “You said you was high class, that was just a lie, you crawl around in the dirt and you ain’t no man of mine!  You ain’t nothing but a hound dog and I hope you’re lonesome tonight….”
‘Hound Dog’ segues into ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ and Flavio approaches the cage.
Flavio: “Thank you very much, for hiring me, and thank you for your wife, some things are meant to be….”
Letizia joins them, holds out her hand and sings the next line: “Take my hand, take my whole life too, for I can’t help falling in love with you….”
Giacco then concludes the medley with ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’  He approaches his father as he plays, and while doing so kicks a speaker on a dolly that rolls right up to the cage.  The music for ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is overwhelmingly provided by the symphony.  Giacco stands before his cowering father and sings: “I’ve got but one thing to say to you….”
He then breaks into a long and blistering guitar solo lasting several minutes then the Elvis medley ends.  He returns to Rosetta and they are looking at each other doe eyed when one of the guests abruptly sings.
Guest: “You look gorgeous Rosetta!  You haven’t told us where you are honeymooning.”
Rosetta: “The four of us are going on a trip around the world.  Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, Buenos Aires and forty other cities, we are literally going to the four corners of the world.  But we are not going as tourists but as a band on a world tour!”
They then play one? Two? Three songs or a short show for the finale.  I wrote the enigmatic final line of the Enlightening Son, and after much debate we decided our private joke made the most perfectly brief concluding coda.
Fat Lady: “Desmond, you may now come in to dinner!”

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