TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions.....Guy Noir, Private Eye. (FADE)
GK: It was January and I was on the case of a young woman from Duluth who had disappeared. Luckily for me, she had disappeared in San Francisco so there I was in the city that if I were going to disappear, this would be the one. Her name was Arabella.
SS (TEARY): She went out there to do a podcast.
GK: But why? You can do a podcast in the backseat of your car.
SS: You ever spend a winter in Duluth?
SS: Well, that's why she went.
GK: What sort of podcast?
SS: It's called Cereal.
GK: Well, that's a successful podcast, Serial. Lot of people listen to that. People who wouldn't be seen reading a tabloid but they love to hear gory details of murder on headphones.
SS: No, this is C-e-r-e-a-l. Cereal. It's about nutrition.
GK: Oh. And does she know anybody in San Francisco?
SS: Her sister Dina.
SS: She's an opera singer.
GK: At the San Francisco Opera?
SS: She's trying to get in there but there's a problem.
GK: What's that?
SS: She's a tenor. (STING)
GK: So I flew out to San Francisco and it wasn't hard to find Dina, Anabella's sister. There was a crowd in front of the Opera House, waving signs with her name on them.
Women play tennis, women play golf O
Why can't a woman play Rodolfo?
No more Mimi, no Butterfly,
Why does the woman always have to die?
Women are just as good as men are,
Why won't the opera let a woman sing tenor?
This is San Francisco, she's a performa,
Why can't a woman sing "Nessun dorma"?
O-P E-R-A. gender casting must go away.
GK: I talked my way backstage.
FN: Who're you?
GK: I'm with Al.
FN: Okay. In that way.
GK: I walked back where a man with a baton was having a fit (TR ITALIAN EXCITEMENT) and a baritone was complaining about something (TR RUSSIAN ANXIETY) and there was an elephant (SFX) and a chariot pulled by two white horses (SFX) and a pair of wolfhounds on leashes held by a woman in an Egyptian general's outfit wearing a sword----- Dina?
ED: You must be Mr. Noir---
ED: My mother said you were coming. (DOGS BARK) Shut up. (DOGS WHINE)
GK: It looks like you're singing tonight----
ED: Yes, Luigi the tenor had to cancel so I'm taking his
place. What a wimp. All I did was sneeze on him and he went to pieces. Bumped his head and forgot the words. So I'm in. First woman in the history of opera to sing Rhadames.
GK: You ever sing the role?
ED: Never. Never saw "Aida" before.
GK: So you must be working hard, learning your part.
ED: I'm not one of those opera singers who goes by the book. I'm more free-form----seat of the pants....
GK: What do you mean?
ED: I like to toss in other stuff ---- some "Rigoletto" ---- maybe (SINGS)
La donna e mobile
Qual piu ma al vento
E di pensier
e__________e di pensier!. ----- Giovanni, Figaro----- whatever.
GK: But that kind of destroys the story doesn't it?
ED: People come to the opera for singing. You want story, read a novel.
GK: People are going to say it's not right.
ED: Hey. You can't please everybody.
GK: So what happened that you became a tenor?
ED: I sang at the Duluth Opera and I was signed up to do Mimi, and it was so cold, I couldn't warm up, and two days later I was a mezzo-----And a week later I got the part of Rodolpho.
GK: I see. So you came to California
ED: You ever spend winter in Duluth?
GK: So you didn't intend to become a transgender tenor----
ED: It was thrust upon me. But I accepted it and when I did, I felt ---- liberated.
ED: I never wanted to die onstage. Drink poisoned wine or
jump off a parapet. I'm just not that kind of person. i----- to be Madama Butterfly and filet myself with a sword for some shnook in a Navy uniform. Nuts to that. And there are some great tenor arias that just sound better when a woman sings them. (SINGS) Vincero, vincero (SPEAKS) It just sounds better, doesn't it?
GK: Well, I see what you're getting at.
TR (RUSSIAN PLEADING)
ED: Oh you big crybaby ---- let me tell you this, Fishface ---- you step in front of me during the quartet ----- you're going to get my boot in your rear end----
TR (RUSSIAN QUESTION)
ED: And don't breathe on me either. And you with the hair-----
TR (ITALIAN QUESTION)
ED: Yes, you ----- I want that tempo nice and slow and
then hold for my big note ---- people pay good money to hear that, so don't' rush it or I'll brain you with this goblet---- (TR ITALIAN COMPLIANT) And none of that big arm waving ---- you look like you're calling an offsides penalty ----- (TR ITALIAN MEEK) I know the song, okay? I'm not taking my tempo from you.
GK: Well, good luck, Dina.
ED; What do you think of this? (SINGS) Dein ist mein ganzes Herz! Wo du nicht bist, kann ich nicht sein. So, wie die Blume welkt, wenn sie nicht kusst der Sonnenschein! (SPEAKS) I'll put on lederhosen and maybe yodel.
GK: In Aida???
ED: After three hours, people are grateful for a little entertainment.
FN: Miss Anokadelli ---- I'm from hair and makeup.
ED: I want bright red hair and I want reflective grease paint to make my face light up. Okay? Even when I'm in the shadows, I want to shine, shine, shine. Okay?
FN: You got it, sweetheart. (BRIDGE)
GK: I was having such a good time in San Francisco, I didn't want to find the missing Arabella too soon so I went over to Sausalito (BOAT HORN) and hung out in a coffee bar there (ESPRESSO SEQ) and then a young woman with long black hair walked over.
HM: Hi Want to be on my podcast?
HM: It's called Cereal and all you need to do is chew.
HM: I'll sing and you crunch.
GK: Sounds good.
HM (SLOW, SULTRY, w FN CRUNCHES): I'm the fruit in your oatmeal, I'm the milk in your tea
I'm the cheese in your Danish, I'm your patisserie
I'm your warm buttered muffin, all the sugar you want,
I'm your bagel, your doughnut, your French toast , I'm your chocolate croissant. (CRUNCHES STOP)
GK: I never would've guessed you're from Minnesota, kid.
HM: Hot women come from cold climates. Never forget that.
GK: I'm going to remember you for a long time.
HM: How about a croissant?
GK: I'd love it but I'm afraid of what it'd do to me.
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions....Guy Noir, Private Eye.