Have you heard of the composer Ruggero Leoncavallo? He must be one of the unluckiest people in history. His story goes something like this:
INT. AN OFFICE IN 19TH CENTURY ITALY.
LEONCAVALLO is hard at work, composing, scribbling ideas on sheet music.
There’s a knock at the door.
It’s his friend MARIO.
LEONCAVALLO: What’s the matter, my old friend? You look as if you’ve heard some bad news.
MARIO: How are you, anyway? How’s Mrs Leoncavallo keeping? You know, we don’t go out for a drink as often as we should, you and me...
LEONCAVALLO: If you have some bad news, just come out and say it.
MARIO: You know how you’ve been writing this opera thing for a couple of years now?
MARIO: And it’s based on the novel La Vie De Boheme, by Henry Murger.
MARIO: Has it been going well at all?
LEONCAVALLO: It has been a struggle, a titanic effort of will, but at last, after devoting my every waking moment to it for the past two years, the end is in sight. I feel, at last, this could be my ticket to the big time. This could be the one that really gets me noticed. The story is very ‘now’.
LEONCAVALLO: Only last night, I came up with a title. It shall be called – 'La Boheme'!
MARIO: Yes. That’s the thing, you see.
MARIO unrolls a bill poster:
OPENING NEXT WEEK. THE BRAND NEW OPERA FROM PUCCINI. ‘LA BOHEME’. BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘LA VIE DE BOHEME’.
LEONCAVALLO: Tits! Tits! Tits!
This story is particularly ironic because Leoncavallo had already got in trouble for ripping-off someone else’s libretto for his Pagliacci, which, unlike his La Boheme, is still performed today.