13 April 2014

Campbell Moves to Disband San Diego Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Ian Campbell, named Manager and General Manager of the San Diego Padres baseball team just days ago, today announced that the team will disband, immediately following Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park.

Campbell cited the team’s “failure to win the World Series, the rising cost of the highest-quality hot dogs at our concession stands, and our inability to field such top-ranking names as Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, even at top prices” as the reasons that made it “necessary to shut down this team now, with dignity.”

“If Ian says we need to stop playing, then I guess we need to stop playing,” said Padres co-owner Peter O’Malley. “This is our only option.”

“I mean, he’s a smart guy,” added the team’s other owner, Ron Fowler. “Ian knows what he’s talking about. This is our only option.”

The Swinging Padre, lone dissenter:
“I have questions.”

Founded in 1969, the Padres are one of only two Major League Baseball teams in California to have originated in the state. San Diego Hall of Famers include Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield.

Campbell, who recently pushed through the closing of San Diego Opera, receives a dual salary for his jobs as Manager and General Manager of the Padres, an unusual double assignment in Major League Baseball. He is expected to receive $500 million in severance over the next 43 years, despite the team’s shutdown.

“I really didn’t see this coming,” Padres fan Teresa Rinteria said of the closing. “But Ian is a smart guy. He knows what he’s talking about. This is our only option.”

“Ian is a smart guy,” said outfielder Will Venable. “I didn’t see this coming, but he knows what he’s talking about. I — must resist! The — can’t — pain! I mean, this is our only option.”

“We knew the problem was coming,” Campbell said, also citing declining sales in solid-gold tickets and caviar nachos, the loss of a lucrative potential contract with a television network on Jupiter, and dwindling attendance at “Free Foam Finger” games, at which fans’ hands were splattered with a frothy brown mixture of undetermined origin.

“We all did what we could,” Campbell said. “These are the cold, hard facts rather than emotions.”

“I know what I’m talking about,” he added. “This is our only option. Look deep into my eyes. This is our only option.”

Campbell with his ex-wife, Ann Spira Campbell,
who is also employed by the Padres as a batboy.

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05 April 2014

The Haushofmeister’s 2014 Diary

Rehearsals are underway now for the Fort Worth Opera’s 2014 Festival, and it has come to my attention that I have not yet received my invitation to participate. This is surely an oversight, since, after all, every single one of the operas presented this season would benefit tremendously from the inclusion of an imperious Viennese butler of some sort, who brings his own special magic to any and all proceedings. Granted, I can’t sing, any more than I could last year, but that’s no excuse.

Consider, for example, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. It’s in French, it’s set in ancient Ceylon. It’s about people who fish for pearls, or something, and it’s got some gorgeous music — notably the duet for tenor and baritone, “Au fond du temple saint.” Beautiful. Exotic. French. In other words, what’s missing is some echtes ordnungsliebendes anbefohlenes Feuerwerk. Metaphorically, I mean. So picture this: Nadir and Zurga are arguing over who gets Léïla, and then a Major-Domo steps in. “Hurry it up, we’ve got the next show waiting,” I say. “And put some clothes on, for Heaven’s sake!”

Failing that, I would be happy to play the previously overlooked character of Pearl’s nephew, Sheldon Fisher, a dentist from Long Island. Bizet totally intended to write this character. He’s in all the sketches in the Bizet Archive, I promise. So really, we’d just be fulfilling the composer’s original intentions.

Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte already has a troublesome servant, of course: the saucy maid Despina. But here again, you need somebody to tell people how to conduct their affairs, which are all over the place in this opera. Don Alfonso persuades Ferrando and Guglielmo to test the fidelity of their lovers, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, and everybody winds up confused. Well, my gosh, what does a butler do but organize the place settings at dinner? “You sit with her, and you, sit with her. Despina, I believe Mrs. Patmore wants you in the scullery. Now.”

Plus, Mozart lived in Vienna. I rest my case.

Including a Haushofmeister in Kevin Puts’ prize-winning Silent Night is almost too easy. The opera is based on a true incident during World War I, when enemy armies found peace and, however briefly, recognized their brotherhood at Christmas. Need I remind anybody that the Austrians fought in World War I? Heck, they even had a navy, despite being a land-locked country. (See The Sound of Music.) So, naturally, I could step in while everybody is celebrating, and announce a special holiday fireworks display.

And then Ava Pine could be hoisted on a wire to fly over the trenches, scattering gifts for all the soldiers. I’ve always wanted to work with Ava, and the audience will go wild. It’s pure theater!

A little more challenging, Daniel Crozier’s With Blood, with Ink is also based on a true story, that of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, a 17th-century nun who ran afoul of the Inquisition. But really, the difference between an Inquisitor and a Haushofmeister is a matter of degree (and also accent) — just think of the way I tortured the poor Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos last season. Plus, Crozier, unlike Strauss, is still around. I’m sure he’d be willing to tinker just a little bit with the score to allow for an extra scene or two.

It is not given to many composers the opportunity to write for an artist of my caliber. (Kevin Puts, I’m looking at you, too.)

So there you have it. Fort Worth, I await your call.


Fort Worth Opera’s 2014 Festival runs from April 19 to May 11. For information and tickets, click HERE.

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