What are operas written for?

(Servants)
That was a fine to-do! With everybody shouting at once.
The Italian girl! She has eaten all the cake!
Why did the director go on like that?
I don’t get it!
Something about reforming the theater before he dies.
Next thing, they will be putting servants in their operas.
The whole world is going crazy.
Now everyone is an actor.
But that does not fool us.
We see what goes on backstage.
From there you get quite a different view.
The Count pursues a new affair.
The Countess is in love.
But she is not sure with whom.
Maybe with both.
And to help her decide, they are writing an opera.
How can an opera do that?
They sing the words so you can’t get them.
Just as well, or you would go crazy trying to figure out the plot.

(Majordomo)
Stop your pretentious babbling!

(Servants)
I like the tightrope walkers. The troupe has a royal charter.
I saw them in Versailles.
So did I. Thrilling!
And then that gruesome play. Coriolanus, stabbing his daughter.
I like puppets much better.
Arlecchino is funnier.
Can we put on an entertainment for her ladyship's birthday?
I know an Italian clown. I am sure he would help us out.

(Majordomo)
Finish up here! Prepare the supper. Afterwards, you are free.

(Servants)
What a pleasure! An evening without guests!

Servants scene, excerpt from Capriccio, a one-act opera, by Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

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