Monday, April 25, 2011

Il Segreto di Susanna -- Akin Gump and the Game of "Sounds Like"

Il segreto di Susanna (English: Susanna's Secret) is an intermezzo in one act by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari to an Italian libretto by Enrico Golisciani. The premiere of the opera was in German, in a translation by Max Kalbeck, at the Hoftheater in Munich on December 4, 1909.

Susanna, unbeknown to her husband, has taken up cigarette smoking.  Her husband, Gil, comes home one day to find the house reeking of cigarette smoke, and is convinced that his wife, Susanna, is fooling around with another man.  This leads to arguments and misunderstandings between husband and wife.  In the end, Susanna reveals her secret, and the opera ends happily.

The title of the opera is a play on words.  In Italian "segreto" means secret and "cigaretto" means cigarette.  The title of the opera is Susanna's Secret, but the implied title is Susanna's Cigarette.

The District of Columbia government found that an employer might reasonably find that I suffered from severe mental illness because I had the opinion that the word "July" might have the implied anti-Semitic meaning of "Jew Lie."  Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).

Can all the people who see a double meaning in the opera title Il Segreto di Susanna be paranoid, potentially violent, unemployable and entitled to Social Security Disability payments? Associating ideas is simply that -- it is the act of associating ideas. Everybody has a right to an opinion.  But if you want to pay me a half-million dollars because I have opinions, go ahead: knock yourselves out!

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

There is additional psychoanalytical meaning in that according to Freud's theories, compulsive smoking is symbolic of masturbation (as is gambling and nail biting). So Susanna may be doing more than just smoking cigarettes!

Jeffrey Orchinik, Esq. was a compulsive nail biter.