Flash Gordon - The Opera
"A truly formed temptress is never merely pretty. I hate it when Daddy says that. He is jsut so jealous of so many things."
How can a truly terrible monstorous tyrant get any respect when you insist on calling him
Ming looked for the chance to do something that was not the expected thing. He had moments of fevered dreams when he was just a guy in a very badly written paperback novel. In the morning he would sit in his vast expanse of bed and hope that this would be the beginning of a better day. But before he could get out half his wish they would be coming through the satin covered doors with the cheer, the ablutions, the morning robes and the announcement that a crowd of eager suppliants were murmuring at the gate.
The sound was expected but somehow in recent times the murmur seemed to be more of grumbling and whining. Perhaps they were not really happy being beneath the the weighty foot of the destroyer of all hope.
He now could nto image who thought he would enjoy that title. Perhaps the fool has been punished and no longer urging slogans of despair and triumph'
The arrival of the aliens is a great event for the people of the planet. They had never seen such a large craft. Most of their works are arches and temples. The great works of the civilization were all destroyed before they were alive. The tales of the former times are only half believed by the children of the court and the young of the green valley know that such things had only come about through the labor of their people
The members of the court who are the chorus are also the workers in the valley where Ming has his private life.
The two worlds are contrasts of the same voices. In the court the chorus is cold and accurate. The same voices in the village are warm and moving. The contrast shows the two worlds of the empire.
To the court Ming is the rumored god of the underworld. He means death but no actual death is known. The rumors of his ways is inaccurate. When he banishes a member of the court he is liberating them to live in the peaceful farm valley.
It is Mings secret desire that all of the city would eventually become part of the world of his youth's ideal.
The Ming is ironic. He plays at being the ogre. The man is telling a scary story to the children of his life.
Ming has a mirror that determines just how terrible he is at the moment. The mirror is not easily intimidated. The best reactions come when Ming is accompanied by someone who needs to be impressed or awed. It is a bargain that Ming and the mirror have made. Ming will say that if the mirror fails to satisfy his need for being horrible there is always the family heirloom, the polished bronze of the worst witch ever. The worst witch ever does not have a name. The witch is presumed dead but no one is willing to talk about soemthing that may suddenly show up in a dream.
Life took a slight curve and a bump when Ming knew that he would not have an heir. The predictions of dynasty were more glitter than fine metal.
The time away from the court was cherished time for Ming but for his daughter it held no great memory. She was not sure she wanted to return to the simple life of the village and the ordinary people.
She looked forward to the unfolding of the mystery and the predictions of the elders in the caves of the fog and shadow.
The first talk of the arrival of the creatures from the stars allowed her to watch the reactions of the others in the court. Some were sure that the change would mean the advancement of their positions. She does not tell anyone of her new opinions.
The people of the cave and the people of the court are unknowns to most of the people but the daughter has been following their activities. She sees that they are not always accurate in their advice and not always responsible in their decisions. She is keeping a list of those who have made comments.
The first person who approaches her with suspcions that have the feeling of truth will become her ally. She will be surprised when it turns out that they are the new arrivals. The woman from the space ship and the Doctor who has also intrigued her father will be the ones she choses to trust.
I really do not see the reality of the court of Ming as being art deco or of being a place of excess. The set is more the dream of a man who is aware of comfort and power but also of a man who is not assured of his place in the world. He is more the man behind the curtain than the war lord who sweeps across the land with fury and vengance.
Flash Gordon has had to live a life of the very handsome man, the athlete, the son of the dignified family, a heritage and a predetermined path for great success.
His interior life has been one of great anxiety and dread. He realizes that he has no self determination. He is living the life others want of him
List of characters from the movie
Emperor Ming the Merciless
Dr. Hans Zarkov
Man at air field
Colonel of Battle Control Room
Lieutenant of Ming's Air Force
Princess Aura's pet, Fellini
But that is the movie and this is something else. Those missing from the opera are now in the chorus. Some tempraments do not need rewarding.
(The Airline Pilot is now a gardener in the third row. He, can you imagine, wanted a dressing room and a position for that hair stylist he was involved with during the first weeks of rehearsal.)
It was difficult for the members of the court to stand around day after day and listen to the story of the past and the promise of the future. You did not need to be interested but you did need to appear to be enthralled. Ming's thought of himself was that everything he said and thought was worthy of becoming the thought of the least of his minions.