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.
GK: It was the week of Thanksgiving and I was feeling pretty darned grateful for a longtime cynic ---- I had money in the bank thanks to my digging up embarrassing videos of famous people. (TR REVERB: Darling, there's no way those emails will be found. Don't give it a thought.
AO: I couldn't help myself ---- I set out to write your biography and before I knew it, I had fallen in love.) I was rolling in dough. I was so flush, I went to New York and I stayed in a hotel with the bathroom right there in the room. I had gone because I got a call from an old friend, the opera soprano Maria Montepulciano. She left me a voice mail message:
ED (ON PHONE): Guy, it's Maria. Also known as Marilyn. I need you, Guy. I need you to find out if I'm any good or not. (SHE WEEPS) (BRIDGE)
GK: Back when I first met her, she was Marilyn Murray, a young hopeful who I saw singing on the downtown platform in the 72nd Street Broadway station. (VOICES PASSING, TRAFFIC ABOVE)
ED (SINGING, ACA):
Voi che sapete che cosa e amor,
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor (TRAIN ROARS THROUGH)
Donne, vedete, s'io l'ho nel cor.
Quello ch'io provo, vi ridiro,
E per me nuovo capir nol so. (TRAIN BRAKES)
Sento un affetto pien di desir,
Ch'ora e diletto, ch'ora e martir. (DOORS OPEN)
Gelo e poi sento l'alma avvampar, (INCOMPREHENSIBLE VOICE)
GK: I felt bad for her and I dropped a twenty in the hat and invited her to come have lunch and she said, Sure. So we went to an Italian place, called Il Digestivo (BRIDGE, INTO TABLEWARE, CAFÉ VOICES). So---- you haven't been in the city very long, huh?
ED: A few months. Why?
GK: Going to lunch with a total stranger. Not so smart.
ED: Ehhhh. I could tell you're harmless.
GK: Huhhh. I'm afraid you're right. I've broken my last heart. Nowadays I leave a few scratches and that's about it. Maybe that's why I love opera. All those wounded sopranos ---- it brings back memories.
ED: This is really excellent pasta, by the way.
GK: It looks to me like maybe you haven't been eating regular, Miss Murray.
ED: Ehhhh. When you're my age, you don't need much. Rice and beans, a roof over your head, some peanut butter, the Internet, a basic black dress, a yoga mat to sleep on, some reason for hope, and you're good to go.
FN: Hey!!! Marilyn!!! How's it going?
ED: Eddie! Hi! (AIR KISSES) How are you? You look great.
FN: So do you. What you up to?
ED: I've been working on a really terrific project about opera and mass transit.
FN: Oh wow. Sounds great. I've been waiting tables just until something comes along.
FN: Text me. Let's hang out.
ED: Sure. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
ED: Tenor. We were at Oberlin together.
GK: A tenor? Really?
ED: Big chest, short arms, big head. Tenor. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: I went along with her to an audition. A walk-up studio on West 49th. Triple A Opera Productions.
TR (FAST, NYER): Okay, let me tell you what we're looking for. We produce short operas. Aida: 35 minutes. Die Walkure: 40 minutes. We make the flight of the Valkyries into a hop and a skip. People have short attention spans. Everything is faster now. Anything longer than an hour, you lose the audience.Cut to the chase.One hour is the new three-hour. Short is the new long. Get with the program. Okay? Okay.
ED: (SINGS) O mio babbino caro mi piace, è bello, bello.
TR: Thank you! Next?
SS (SINGS, FAST):
Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose.
TR: Beautiful. You got the part.
SS: Oh thank you, thank you, thank you.
ED: HER? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!
TR: Sorry, kid. You sing too slow. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: Well, I wish you well, kid. For what that's worth. Let me just give you a word of advice. Sometimes in my line of work, you find things by not looking for them. We call it Zen in the Art of the Private Eye.
ED: You're a private eye?
GK: I'm working undercover as an old harmless person.
ED: Could you find out something for me? A guy named Edwin Triplay wants to hire me to sing a commercial. (BRIDGE)
GK: And that's how she met her husband.
ED (ON RADIO, SINGS):
Everything you need today
GK: Edwin Triplay was the owner of AAA Appliance, AAA Carpet Cleaning, AAA Plumbing and Heating, AAA Locksmith and Pest Control and Laundromat and Movers, AAA Nail Salon ----- he had his hands in everything ---- he was a multi-billionaire.
TR (RICH GUY): Very simple. My name used to be Bloomberg. The world is full of Bloombergs. I changed it to Triple A. Boom. Brought a lawsuit against the thousands of companies called AAA and won it and now when you see AAA in the Yellow Pages, all those are mine. Then I took speech lessons and learned to talk like this. (TRUMPLIKE) Instead of like this which is how I used to talk before I knew better. (RICH GUY) And then I met the love of my life ---- actually, she's the third love of my life ---- Maria, and now I'm on the Board of the Met. They named the opera house after me. AAA Opera. I gave em a half a billion dollars. (BRIDGE)
GK: I saw her on posters all over town. Maria Montepulciano starring in "Ringling Brothers Nibelung" ---- she was hanging by her foot from the trunk of an elephant. And then she left that message in voice mail----
ED (ON PHONE): I need you, Guy. I need you to find out if I'm any good or not. (SHE WEEPS)
GK: I called her and she met me at Il Digestivo (CAFÉ AMBIENCE) ----- there was a publicity person with her.
SS (NYER): It's the biggest opera the Met has ever put on. It's like "Aida" meets "War and Peace" meets Richard Wagner. It's got fifty elephants, sixty-seven horses, a boa constrictor, seven llamas ---- the animals, not the Buddhists ----- a ballet corps of fifty dancers, 27 aerialists, pyrotechnics, a cannon fusillade to open Act 2, and it's got fabulous singing ---- all the arias you love, no clinkers, just one hit after another, boom boom boom boom ----- three hours but half of that is dinner which we serve between the second and third acts ---- so what media platform are you with, Mr. Noir?
ED: Guy isn't in the media, Paula. He's a friend.
SS (NYER): A friend! Then what am I doing here? Okay. I'm out of here. Ciao. (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS AWAY) Taxi! (SHE BLOWS WHISTLE)
GK: You look fabulous, Miss Montepulciano.
ED: Call me Marilyn. Please.
GK: I see you're eating regular.
ED: Edwin likes a little extra jiggle. His second wife was anorexic. He says you could hear her bones clicking when she got into bed.
GK: So you're the No. 1 star at the Met---- Fleming, Netrebko, Dessay, Voigt, are all in the chorus now ---- you're Carmen, you're Violetta, you're Mimi, you're everything.
ED: But is it because I can sing? Or is it because my husband gave them 500 million dollars?
GK: Don't worry about it.
ED: I think about it all the time.
GK: You're from the Midwest, aren't you.
ED: How did you know?
GK: I can tell.
ED: I have a constant worry that I'm singing sharp and that there is toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
GK: You're from the Midwest.
ED: I have this constant sensation that there is spinach in my teeth and a kernel of corn stuck to my cheek.
ED: I live in fear that I am probably mispronouncing some ordinary word and nobody will tell me, people are thinking, Oh well she's from the Midwest, how would she know how to say hors d'oeuvres?
GK: Everyone from the Midwest feels that way.
ED: Is my zipper all the way up?
GK: It is. Yes.
ED: Do I have food on my face?
GK: Not a bit.
ED: How do you pronounce gnocchi?
GK: The Italian dumplings?
GK: Just the way you pronounced it.
ED: Do I sing sharp? (SHE SINGS A HIGH NOTE)
GK: We don't call it Sharp----- we call it, brilliance.
ED: Thank you. (BRIDGE, INTRO TO AIDA ANDANTE)
GK: She was a big hit in "Ringling Brothers Nibelung" and they had to move the production to Madison Square Garden where it ran for six months. It was opera with popcorn. It had everything. Spectacle, beautiful animals, heartbreak, clowns who drop their pants, dancing, flashes of fire, a guy in a diamond crusted tux playing a revolving white piano with a candelabra, and it had Maria Montepulciano singing as she hung upside down from the trunk of an elephant.
I come from the Midwest
Those northern states that sit up there near Canada
I grew up in a town
Where the kids all went to public school.
We liked meat loaf and pumpkin pie
We learned to play accordion.
We learned to say Excuse me, Please, and Thank You
And not to think we are something. (ELEPHANT, CANNON VOLLEY, BIG LIBERACE CHORDS, BUGLE, HORSES WHINNY AND GALLOP, ROCKET)
I come from the Midwest
And I was brought up to say, I'm okay, I'm fine,
Don't worry about me,
It's only a flesh wound in my heart.
We seldom talk about ourselves,
We go for days and don't complain.
And so it's hard to be a star of opera
But I'll do the best that I can. (ELEPHANT, CANNONS, SWORD FIGHT, BIG LIBERACE CHORDS, FLYOVER, MARCHING FEET, HORSES WHINNY------)
GK: And so she did. The show was huge and Edwin Triplay took it on the road.
TR (RICH GUY): We're chartering six 747s and taking it to the Forum in Rome, the Acropolis in Athens, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Great Wall of China, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Mall in Washington, and Central Park. We're taking Renee and Anna along. The Three Sopranos.
ED, AO, SS: (SOPRANO TRIAD)
GK: Opera with popcorn. A show that critics love to hate. Elephants, pyrotechnics, and two guys in diamond-crusted tuxes at a white piano. (BIG CHORDS) Richard Dworsky and George Nessich. Used to be accompanists, now they're multimillionaires living in villas with swimming pools. The Three Sopranos. Coming to a stadium near you.
ED, AO, SS: (SOPRANO TRIAD)
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions.....Guy Noir, Private Eye.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).