Thursday, March 01, 2018

He "sings" like a pig caught under the farm gate

Yesterday was “the day”, the one we mark on the calendar and look forward to with trepidation and fear. Yesterday was booster shot and annual exam day for 'the boys’. The moment the crates are brought down from their perches in the closets the boys’ devil-may-care attitudes vanish and they slither like two furred snakes under the beds.

I drop a big towel in each crate, along with a generous tablespoon of catnip. They may not do any good, from the cats’ point of view, but they make me feel better. Of course we can’t just open the crate doors and issue invitations. But fortunately our boys tend to panic and run from bed to bed, and thus can be scooped up during a transit.

In turn each one’s crate is stood on end. Hobbes has to be put in head first, Smokey back feet first. Doors secured, crates loaded on the cart, winter layers on, pocketbook in hand, trusty cane in hand and we are ready for our driver, Gail. While we wait for her to arrive, Hobbes begins to warm-up for the performance, because Hobbes is not *just* the quirky orange tabby who loves strawberry yogurt, steals plastic bags and destroys cardboard boxes, Hobbes is a Felis silvestris catus with ambitions. 

Hobbes resting after his performance 
Hobbes wants to go on the musical stage, and not just to sing in Jubilee Auditorium productions of “Cats” or “The Lion King”. Hobbes aspires to sing on the stages of the Great Opera Houses of the World; The Metropolitan, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala Milan, The Liceu in Barcelona, Teatro di San Carlo, The Royal Opera House in London. I could go on, but you get the drift.

For this trip, as far as I could determine, he chose as his performance piece an intensely dramatic aria from Verdi’s 'Otello', loosely translated as “God, how could you?”. Verdi used Shakespeare's tale of Othello as his libretto, so of course you know the story; the insecure older man, an African general, marries the young and beautiful blonde Desdemona, who is devoted to him. But his wicked, jealous and bigoted second-in-command, Iago, manages to convince Otello that his wife is unfaithful. Otello, heartbroken and maddened by grief, kills her, and then himself. But just before he dies he realizes he has been tricked and kills Iago as well.

You may see Placido Domingo’s incredible performance of this piece, taken from the film produced and directed by Franco Zeffirelli, here, though the audio seems to have been tampered with and Domingo's magnificent tenor has been dropped into a decidedly baritone range. Still gorgeous.

Sadly Hobbes has yet to attain Domingo’s command of melody or tempo or… to have exhibited any musical talent whatsoever, and as a result his interpretation lost a good deal in execution. However, if enthusiasm counts he cannot be faulted. He went into full throttle when our front door opened and his performance continued unabated until his crate door was opened at the vet’s. How so many decibels can emerge from a 6.5 kilo (14 pound) cat is a mystery to everyone who hears him.

Once out of the crate and on the exam table he was the proverbial pussy cat, docile and friendly, never even flinched when he got his needle. And he was eager and delighted to get back in his crate for the ride home. He sang a less onerous aria on the way back, possibly something from Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘HMS Pinafore’.

Smokey is not a G&S fan and grumbled at him the entire way home. There were sharp words between them afterwards. But Smokey was fine with the ride. As long as Smokey can see I’m in the car he’s chill. Smokey’s outing was extraordinary for an entirely different reason. Tomorrow, I hope, I’ll have time to write about that.

1 comment: said...

I look forward to the second chapter of your outing.

It is just a weird experience to have two cats in this house who never did much more than bitch out a bad toy or chirp at each other in a private blood line sibling language.