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Friday, April 1, 2011

That Fraggin' Dragon

Harry Potter star joins cast of Siegfried.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The new star of Siegfried. He sings with a pleasing bass voice.
Image from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire © 2005 Warner Brothers Pictures.
A new star will be featured in the second act of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Wagner's Siegfried, opening Oct. 27.

It was announced on Friday afternoon that the opera company has entered into partnership with Vermathrax, the 882-year old black Romanian dragon, who played opposite Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

"We wanted a dragon with star quality for our new Ring Cycle", said Metropolitan Opera press representative Peter Paul Mars. "Vermathrax gives us visual name-brand recognition. It was almost an added bonus to discover that he could sing with a pleasing bass voice and was already fluent in High German."

Negotiations with the dragon became necessary when the company's first choice, the Bronx Zoo Cobra, was placed under house arrest earlier this year, and was thus unavaliable to appear as Fafner in the Ring. Luckily, Vermathrax had just decided against a new project with German director Uwe Boll, who wanted to cast the 55-ton fire-breathing dragon in his own planned Bayreuth Festival production of the Ring.

Once the news was out that Mr. Boll had "mysteriously disappeared," a raiding party, (led by union delegate Joseph G. Blow) sailed this July to the small mist-shrouded North Sea island that hides Vermathrax' summer retreat. The party encountered orcs, a giant badger and a particularly vicious flock of grell before discovering Castle Vermathrax and persuading the dragon to sign a three-year contract. Mr. Blow did not return from the expedition.

In order to meet the star's contract demands, the Metropolitan Opera board has ordered that this year's record-breaking donation pot of $182 million will be converted into solid gold Rose Nobles, a coinage last used in medieval England by King Edward IV, and paid to the dragon. 

"It might be difficult for Vermathrax to just fly over to Broadway and buy a Starbucks latte", a board member offered. "But this is how he insisted on doing business in today's economic climate. And I suppose he can always get an intern to deliver his morning coffee."

"We find adding Vermathrax to our roster will bring excitement, and an edge of real danger to this new Ring" Mr. Paul Mars enthused. "It will bring the Metropolitan Opera a whole new audience: the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who might not have otherwise heard of Wagner's music dramas. Who knows? They might even stick around for Götterdämmerung."

The dragon, whose Hollywood resume includes the fourth Potter film and an appearance in the action thriller Reign of Fire will be appearing in all scheduled performances of Siegfried for the next three years. Vermathrax will play the short-but-important role of Fafner, the cave-dwelling dragon who is slain in the second act by the eponymous hero.

When not singing the role, Vermathrax will be housed on the roof of the Metropolitan Opera House. Since the dragon is carnivorous and requires live prey three times a day, Lincoln Center patrons are advised to make use of the complex's underground corridors that provide access to all of the theaters from Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues,  West 62nd and 65th Streets, and the "1" train.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats