NPR’s All Things Considered Program on Saturday had a story about how money can buy you just about anything you want, no matter how insane. The story is about a rich entrepreneur who, under the influence of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” has bought a small opera company on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, so that he can have the tragic endings of many classic operas rewritten so that they have happy endings. Yes, Mimi in “La Bohème” doesn’t die of TB, but she and her poet boyfriend live happily ever after. Don Giovanni doesn’t go to Hell at the end of Mozart’s opera, but is Born Again. And (I could practically hear Richard Wagner rolling in his grave) Isolde’s “love-death” music at the end of “Tristan und Isolde” becomes the “love-life” music.
And who is composing these new endings for some of the greatest masterpieces of western civilization? The director of the children’s opera company that has become the Positive Opera Company. He has little previous composing experience. The NPR story had some excerpts from his new ending of of “Tristan”–“I think we’ll have some swelling horns here.”
It was with some relief that I learned the next day that it was NPR’s April Fool’s joke. They had me convinced….