Monday, May 10, 2021

Quote of the Day (Henry Alford, Imagining ‘Insomnia: The Opera’)

(10 P.M. A bedchamber, with a balcony overlooking a village square. Enrico is putting on pajamas. He sings at half voice.)

Enrico: “My raccoon eyes and zombie stare
Boldly sing the woes of bodily miscare.
O, hundred-dollar white-noise machine! O, yoga dude named Tevin!
Help me reverse twelve months of 24/7.
Collective woe has ravaged my breast,
America, you put the ‘un’ in unrest.”

(He parts his blackout curtains, opens the window, and addresses the villagers.)

“Hark, twentysomething coder! Hark, seasoned whore!
Tonight’s the night I finally snore;
When might turns to will, and is rises from seems.
I’ve reduced my caffeine and I’m ready to dream.”—American humorist and journalist Henry Alford, “Shouts and Murmurs—Insomnia: The Opera,” The New Yorker, Apr. 12, 2021

The image accompanying this post comes from the 2002 film Insomnia, where Al Pacino plays one of several characters afflicted with this sleep disorder.

Among contemporary practitioners of musical theater—including opera—Stephen Sondheim seems the lyricist-composer most likely to choose a daunting subject such as this—if anybody was drawn to the kind of tongue-in-cheek project that Alford has in mind.

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