Maltrumpio, Crime & Punishment
The new opera as tangy as caviar is “Russia, Mi Amore”. King Maltrumpio sings the opening aria “Siamo presi nella rete” (I want them to love Russia as I do). The town barber Kislyako, sings ‘Everybody knows me, but nobody understands me’, while at the back of the stage, the cunning chambermaid Kellyana slurps her bowl of borscht.
In the second act, Princess Ivanka tells her godfather Putinesca of her plans to sell Russian brides, in her aria “Voglio una pentola di merda di soldi”. Kellyana and the royal jurist Sessionato sing a soulful duet of their affection for Maltrumpio, “il vostro è un disonore”. (Strangely, Sessionato is slightly off key, and the audience cannot tell if this is on purpose or not.) While they are singing, Maltrumpio, known in the town as a “Lermontov Lothario,” sneaks a few beautiful young women into a secret chamber, which he calls his “Pechorin.”
In the final act, Queen Melania sings of her loneliness from the White Tower, while Maltrumpio, at his desk, sings of his new foreign policy, known by his ministers as “danza elaina benes” (as jerky as his handshake). In the final scene, Maltrumpio and the sheriff Comeo sing an antiphonal duet. Maltrumpio sings of his hatred of the sheriff, “odio federale di investigazione” while the sheriff sings, “crimine e punizione” in a rich baritone while polishing his badge. Comeo leaves the stage, and streaming in from the wings come dozens of witches, who surround Maltrumpio. While laughing, they sing “Questa è una caccia alle strega” (this is a witch hunt, and we will catch you), as the curtain falls.