RAUL (SINGS, TO "LA DONNA E MOBILE): I am a tenor, I am a superstar, I sing in stadiums, for millions of dollars. I go on TV shows, my picture's everywhere, Bus stops and magazines, And now my mem-oir is No. 1 -- Yes it is, New York Times, I'm Number One -- I'm the greatest tenor in the world. (MUSIC UNDER)
GK: He was the man with the golden voice'Ramon Melodia -- cover stories in Vogue and Vanity Fair, his memoir Heart In My Throat had sold a million copies -- the Met created new productions for him, one after the other -- Pagliacci (RAUL SINGS FIRST NOTES OF ...)
GK: ...and he became the first tenor in the history of the Met to sing the title role of Madame Butterfly -- the part of Lieutenant Pinkerton was too small for him, so they made Lieutenant Pinkerton a woman and he became Mister Butterfly (RAUL SINGS "UN BEL DI") --
GK: ...and then he started taking over other soprano roles (RAUL SINGS "HABANERA") --
GK: ...the public wanted to see more of him, not some soprano, they wanted more of Ramon, so he went on to do Gianni Schicchi (RAUL SINGS...)
GK: Renee Fleming sat in the audience and she wept, it was that good-and at the end of every performance they had to close Tenth Avenue because his fans gathered at the stage door of the Metropolitan Opera House (CHANTING "RAMON, RAMON, RAMON") and he came out (BIG CHEER) onto the roof of the Opera House and he waved to them --
RM: My people! Bless you! Bless you! Visit my website! Buy my CDs!
GK: And he got into his helicopter and (CHOPPER) he was airlifted away to his estate far out on Long Island where the chopper landed on the helipad near the paddock his beautiful wife Ramona ran a shelter for emus called Big Birds on the Run-- the charity run by Ramon's young Australian trophy wife.
SS (AUSTRALIAN): My darling, welcome back to Parnassus. How was the show? (EMUS)
RM: Brilliant. Six curtain calls. Finally I had to sing the entire second act again. And the national anthem. And the theme song from "Gilligan's Island."
SS (AUSTRALIAN): You give and you give and you give, Ramon. That's why they love you so. You're a giver. The emus can sense it (EMU REACTION). You give of yourself, of your great artistry, your great heart, your fabulous voice.
RM: Well, I was lucky. I come from a musical family.
GK: Which was true, but it wasn't an operatic family. It was a dairy farm family in Minnesota, and their music was pretty modest.
Bringing in the cheese, bringing in the cheese.
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the cheese.
GK: And their name wasn't Melodia, it was Melby. They were Norwegian. And they brought up their boy Raymond to be modest and work hard.
TR (MIDWEST): Don't you be getting the big head, Ray, just because Miss Hallenberg asked you to sing the solo at the Christmas concert -- that doesn't mean you're better than other people -- it just means that you have a different job to do, but the job of singing solo is no more important than the job of sweeping the floor or cleaning the toilet. So don't think you're something, cause you're no better than anyone else.
RM: I know, Dad. There but for the grace of God I go.
TR (MIDWEST): Just cause you stand up in front with the bright light on you doesn't mean you're somebody.
RM: Okay, Dad. Real good then.
TR (MIDWEST): And frankly, I think you sing a little sharp.
RM: Oh no.
TR (MIDWEST): Yesh, sounds sharp to me.
GK: And that voice kept going around in his head, even after he'd won all the prizes, made his debut at the Met, and had his first platinum record...
TR (MIDWEST, REVERB): Don't think you're something, cause you're no better than anyone else.
GK: Even after he won the hand of Ramona and bought the 1000 acre estate in the Hamptons-- (HORSE WHINNY, TROTS)
SS (AUSTRALIAN): Oh look, Ramon. Green meadows and happy emus we have rescued--...and all thanks to you and your phenomenal talent.
RM: Thanks, dear.
TR (MIDWEST, REVERB): The job of singing solo is no more important than the job of sweeping the floor, so don't get the big head.
GK: And one night at the Met, in the first act of "La Boheme" he heard his father's voice--
TR (MIDWEST, REVERB): Frankly, I think you sing a little sharp.
GK: And that night Ramon sang flat -- (CHE GELIDA MANINA, FLAT)
GK: (SOUR STING) And that night he was called in by management-- and he took the long walk down the hall -- Peter Gelb runs the Metropolitan Opera but not all of it -- Puccini and Verdi are run by The Old Man in the Blue Pinstripe Suit and that's who Ramon went to see (HEAVY DOOR, OPENS, CLOSES)--
TR (ITALIAN): Come in, Ramon. Sit down. (CHAIR PULLS OUT) You were a big disappointment tonight, Ramon. My heart is breaking. Why you do this to me?
RM: I'm so sorry.
TR (ITALIAN): People laughed. I don't like to hear them laugh at the Puccini. Rossini, okay, but not the Puccini.
RM: I know. I am ashamed.
TR (ITALIAN): You sang a real stinker there. You cut the cheese -- P.U. --
RM: I'll do better next time.
TR (ITALIAN): Next time. Next time. Listen to me. You come in here and you ask for the favor of a next time. But the time for favors are over.
RM: Please-give me another chance.
TR (ITALIAN): You were big, Ramon. Very big. But then you got too big. You got so big that you fell down. And now you're going to keep falling down.
RM: What do you mean?
TR (ITALIAN): What size shoes you wear, Ramon?
RM: I don't know, 10 1/2 , 11.
TR (ITALIAN): Let's make sure. Why don't you put your feet in this concrete mold here. It's real exact. Gets the contours just right.
RM: Excuse me, I gotta meet somebody. (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN AND SLAM, RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN AND SLAM, TRAFFIC SOUNDS, RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, HORNS HONKING, BRAKES, PANTING)
GK: He ran out of the opera house and all the way up to 72nd. He changed his name to Ray Melby and he found a roommate situation.
FN (STONER): So like, it's a one-bedroom that I made into a two-bedroom. Oh, and is it okay if you are it with a cat? A cougar? (SNARL)
GK: And he took a job washing dishes at the Mango Fandango restaurant (DISHWASHING, SPANISH GARBLE), and when he got off work he would go down into the subways and sing for extra cash.
Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be
I can fly higher than an eagle
If you are the wind beneath my wings.
(SUBWAY RUSHES PAST, RAUL CONTINUES TO SING, SUBWAY RUSHES PAST)
GK: A long time passed and then one night Raul was coming up from singing in the subway and he was hustled into a black car (THUG WRESTLES RAUL INTO CAR, DOOR SHUTS, SQUEALS OFF) and he was taken to the Metropolitan Opera and back to that secret room. (DOOR SLAMS, SLOW FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)
TR (ITALIAN): Well well. Look what the cat dragged in.
RM: Papa. Please.
TR (ITALIAN): I'm giving you another chance.
RM: Another chance-!?!?
TR (ITALIAN): I changed my mind.
RM: Oh thank you thank you thank you.
TR (ITALIAN): But I don't want you to sing here.
RM: What-you mean at the Met?
TR (ITALIAN): In New York. I'm sending you to Minnesota.
RM: Minnesota?? (STING)
TR (ITALIAN): Yeah. And you're gonna sing Wagner. (LAUGHS) Wagner.
RM: I can't.
TR (ITALIAN): You can. And you're gonna. Now go. Get outta here. (BRIDGE)
GK: And so Raul Melodia flew to Minnesota and he's been singing out there ever since. He's a Rhine Maiden. Him and three loons.
(RAUL SINGS RHINEMAIDEN SONG, YO HO, W/FN LOONS)...