03 July 2012

‘Der Zaubermikey’

I’ve often lamented that hit Hollywood movies don’t take more notice of opera. Ordinarily, in these cases, I’ve offered a scenario for a new film, such as those for Crazy Harp, about the down-and-out coloratura soprano Ophelia “Bad” Boninsegna; and Black Schwan, about one singer’s neurotic, even hallucinatory preparations for a production of Lohengrin.

With the new movie Magic Mike, however, it’s time to turn the tables. After all, the “barihunk” phenomenon means that Opera World today is full of singers perfectly capable of playing male strippers. Indeed, in a number of exciting productions, in Europe especially, they’ve done so already, in works ranging from Don Giovanni to Un Ballo in Maschera to Wozzeck. These guys are toned, tanned, and ready, as you can see from the estimable Barihunks blog.

Seriously, folks. Die Frist ist um! And so, without further ado, I ask you to consider the wholly original synopsis of Der Zaubermikey, a grand opera in five specialty acts.



Zaubermikey Gurneschwanz: A Groin Knight (baritone)

Joey Parsifal: His innocent protégé (baritone)

Tito Turel: Owner of the Club Cling-Shorts (baritone)

Ken Komfortass: Another Groin Knight (baritone)

Gross’gliede Wilfried: Another Groin Knight (baritone)

Lycra: A sorceress and owner of a rival strip club (bass)

Four Esquires (baritones)

Chorus of Bridesmaidens (probably not baritones)

THE TIME: The present.

THE SETTING: Montsalvat, Florida, a coastal town.

(Note: It is customary to maintain utter silence and to hold your applause until the very end of this opera. Thank you.)

What you can’t see is what, if anything, they’re wearing underneath.


A bachelorette party of BRIDESMAIDENS enters. Excitedly, they take their seats in the Club Cling-Shorts, and with yearning cries, they summon the strippers while waving money in the air.

Come, come, dear boys!
Are you kind? Then do not stay away!
And if you will bump it with a trumpet,
We will repay you:
We pay you with gold,
We pay dues for love’s play!
If you bring us consolation,
You shall win gold from us!
There is a FANFARE, and the GROIN KNIGHTS enter the stage in solemn procession, bumping and grinding as they go. In chorus, they sing of the sacred ritual they are about to perform, the Sharing of the Body (“Zum letzten Liebestanz”). As the music reaches a celestial crescendo, they whip off their armor — to the delight of the audience of BRIDESMAIDENS.

The GROIN KNIGHTS move into the audience; the BRIDESMAIDENS throw themselves upon the men.

Come, come, handsome boys!
Let me be your flower!
My every care shall be
For your delight and bliss!
The GROIN KNIGHTS begin the sacred Lap Dances, but soon the BRIDESMAIDENS fall to fighting among themselves in jealous fury. (“Lasset den Knaben! Er gehört mir!”)


In a lengthy and very beautiful aria, TITO TUREL goes over the night’s take. Declaring that owning a business is torture to him, he reveals that he has betrayed his ancestors, who wanted him to be a periodontist and settle down with a nice girl from Pensacola. Now, he says, remorse gnaws at his heart.

Also, during this aria, TITO removes his clothes, disappearing behind a screen at the last moment so that his Magic Spear is seen in silhouette.


ZAUBERMIKEY enters TITO’s office with JOEY PARSIFAL, an innocent youth in need of a job. The kid has great potential, ZAUBERMIKEY says. TITO’s assistant manager, KEN KOMFORTASS, wonders whether it is JOEY who will at last lead the Groin Knights to the Hellertanga, the Golden Thong of Power, which was worn by the Last Stripper and brought across the sea by Joseph of Abdominathea. According to legend, KEN reminds them all, whosoever finds the Hellertanga will lead the Knights to a new strip club, closer to the beach, where the women tip with fifties instead of singles.

However, JOEY is not ready to perform, having just beaten a Schwanz — in gross violation of the sacred rules of the order of Groin Knights. TITO and KEN accuse the boy of impurity, and he flees the hall, while KEN strips off his own armor in sorrow.


On the beach, JOEY meets LYCRA, the owner of the Brahms Shelter, a rival strip club. LYCRA explains that she has suffered curses and scorn, unable to rest for centuries because she laughed at Christ’s circumcision, and also because she drank too much coffee after supper. Now she mocks Joey’s innocence (“Bist du keusch?”) but, with the help of a chorus of BRIDESMAIDENS, she instructs him in the sacred art of lap-dancing. (Ballet: “Die heilige Sitztanzen.”)

LYCRA offers JOEY a job at her club, but JOEY spurns her, saying that he will seek the Hellertanga instead. She falls to the ground, sobbing, a broken woman.

Then she takes off her clothes.


LYCRA has given JOEY a Magic Potion, causing him to believe that GROSS’GLIEDE WILFRIED is actually a princess named Isolde Tristein from Boca Raton. In a passionate duet, the strippers dance, then make love, but when WILFRIED learns that JOEY has no money, he beats up the boy and leaves him for dead.

ZAUBERMIKEY finds JOEY and cares for his wounds. Truly, they are forsaken, and it is God’s will that they find another line of work, preferably one without such late hours. If only ZAUBERMIKEY can finish that correspondence course in time!


The years have passed. ZAUBERMIKEY is still working at the Cling-Shorts Club. Performing a lap-dance, he espies an approaching stranger, dressed in full armor. But he is unable to see who the knight is, until the stranger begins the most elaborate specialty act yet, removing each piece of armor until he reveals himself to be JOEY.

As JOEY whips off his tear-away assless cuirasses, KEN and TITO cry out: the youth is wearing the Golden Thong of Power! The GROIN KNIGHTS bow down before him, as JOEY explains that he found the Thong behind the ice-maker in the back storeroom.

Now ZAUBERMIKEY realizes that his friend will never break free of the sordid world of stripping; he runs alone into the night.

(Now you may applaud.)

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