The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

It's Too Late

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.


LEONCAVALLO: Enter!

It’s his friend MARIO.

MARIO: Ruggero!

LEONCAVALLO: What’s the matter, my old friend? You look as if you’ve heard some bad news.

MARIO: Bad-ish.

LEONCAVALLO: Bad-ish?

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?

LEONCAVALLO: Yes.

MARIO: And it’s based on the novel La Vie De Boheme, by Henry Murger.

LEONCAVALLO: Yes.

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’.

MARIO: Right.

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.

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