• The Opera Lively Serial Novel Project - Chapter 3

    Chapter 3

    But Death, alas! I cannot shun;
    Death must come when he is gone.


    The chorus started singing.

    Great minds against themselves conspire
    And shun the cure they most desire.


    She opened the vial she had been clenching in her hand. She quickly emptied it, and, as she staggered backwards

    Thy hand, Belinda

    she suddenly tripped and fell. Luckily her Belinda was behind her to catch her. She could barely hear a few murmurs from the audience. As orchestra started with its downwards descending motive, she suddenly felt dizzy. The woman behind her must have felt it too, as she started sitting down. Soon they were both on the floor.

    When I am laid in earth,
    May my wrongs create
    No trouble in thy breast


    Her throat was suddenly tightening up. Nothing like this had ever happened before, but she shrugged it off.
    Soon finished

    Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

    The final high G now loomed on the horizon. If her throat kept tightening like this, there was no way she was going to make it. It came. She cracked. The audience was not pleased, and she could barely hear them whispering excitedly to one another. She was finished. She could hear the chorus entering behind her.

    With drooping wings you Cupids come,


    She was tired. Unable to keep herself awake, she turned limp.

    To scatter roses on her tomb.
    Soft and Gentle as her Heart
    Keep here your watch, and never part.


    The audience clapped. Politely. Amelia Wells had disappointed them. Of course there were the ones who had never set foot inside an opera house that seemed to try to generate as much noise as possible, regardless of the quality of what they had just seen. But even they were more tepid than usual tonight. The curtain fell.

    General manager Nathaniel Robertson was not pleased, as he stood just outside the stage area. He had meant to congratulate Ms. Wells on her triumph, as she sang her last Dido. Ever, she had told the world. To him, she had said that she might sing Dido again, someday, if she felt like it. But no one really trusted Amelia Wells on these matters. She was notorious for announcing the retirement of a role, only to sing it again only a few years later. But she was forgiven for it, although it seemed other singers resented her for it. She was undoubtedly one of, if not the greatest Baroque mezzo-sopranos of her generation, and then some.

    But not today, evidently. Today's performance had certainly been a lot worse than usual. While not directly bad, it certainly was not very good. Robertson was worried.

    A scream came from the stage. The chorus had all left, but Jennifer Graves, the Belinda, and Amelia were still remaining. Jennifer was standing over Amelia, who was lying motionless on the floor. Several chorus members had already run up to them. The audience was still clapping, but excited whispers started filling the auditorium. They had heard the screaming from behind the curtain.

    ‘Oh, God. I really do not need this,’ Robertson muttered to himself. He walked over to the cluster of people that had formed onstage. Amelia was lying there, on the floor, very still. Too still.
    Robertson was suddenly struck by panic. Although he did not especially like the mezzo-soprano that lay sprawled out on the floor in front of him, presumably dead, he did not think she deserved it.

    He was going to have to say something. The audience was getting restless. The curtain was still down.

    ‘Has anyone called an ambulance? The police?’ A few chorus members nodded their heads. Good, he though. He made his way out onto the stage apron. A hush went through the audience.

    ‘If everybody could please remain calm,’ he started. ‘Unexpected events relating to tonight’s performance have forced us to keep you here until further notice. The police will be arriving shortly.’ The auditorium erupted in loud talk from the audience. People started shouting, demanding to know why they were being held there. Robertson had to shout for what seemed like minutes to get the audience to calm down.

    ‘I am sorry, but until the police arrives, that is all the information I can give you.’

    That went poorly, he thought as he went behind the curtain.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Opera Lively Serial Novel Project started by Amfortas View original post


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