On Friday bOING bOING featured a YouTube video of a section of Bizet’s Carmen reworked with lyrics pertaining to the trials and tribulations of Toronto’s singular mayor, Rob Ford. Ford has become a magnet of media interest lately, due to the surfacing of videotape proving that he smoked crack, his excuse for doing so (he was in a “drunken stupor”), and so forth. Basically Rob Ford is what would happen if you took your typical NCAA linebacker and made him mayor of one of the largest cities in North America.
The new Rob Ford version of Carmen is funny, but, to give you an idea of how long Torontans have been dealing with the insane Rob Ford phenomenon, there was an actual opera written and staged in Toronto nearly two years ago. Andrew Jaji (pictured above) played the title role.
Rob Ford in costume for a Christmas performance of The Nutcracker last year
On January 22, 2012, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music put on a one-time-only performance of Rob Ford: The Opera. It was written by four student composers as part of a writing workshop with the considerable assistance of Michael Patrick Albano, resident stage director of the Faculty’s opera division. Albano spoke to The Torontoist while Rob Ford: The Opera was in production:
Well, [Ford] is quite bigger than life, which is very interesting. And I don’t mean physically bigger at all. That’s not what I mean. I mean, bigger than life the way operatic characters often are. He really seems to have a spotlight following him no matter where he goes. And what’s interesting about that kind of character—the same as whether you’re talking about Rob Ford, or King Lear, or Richard Nixon, or whoever you’re talking about—is the tremendous catalyst abilities that he has. He has very strong effects on other people around him.
According to the Musical Toronto website, “It looks like the opera includes a scene where Ford goes to Heaven, to discover that God looks an awful lot like Margaret Atwood. There is another scene where Ford is judged by a jury made up of Toronto librarians.”
God, I’d love to see this thing. Until then, shaky audience video will have to do.