• Model: Mozart's operas
  • Pieces referenced:
    • Found a Peanut
    • Stephen Foster, "Oh, Susanna"
    • Rimsky-Korsakov, "Flight of the Bumblebee"
    • Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay
    • Mozart, Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio
    • Mozart, "Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden" from The Abduction from the Seraglio
    • Mozart, "Singt dem grossen Bassa Lieder" from The Abduction from the Seraglio
    • Chopsticks
    • Beethoven, "Eroica" Symphony
    • Mozart, "Ich bin der Vogelfänger" from The Magic Flute
    • Mozart, "Signore maschere" from Don Giovanni
  • Other allusions:
    • The title of The Abduction of Figaro combines Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and The Abduction from the Seraglio.
    • The "Dance of the Seven Pails" suggests Richard Strauss's "Dance of the Seven Veils," though there's no strong musical resemblance.
    • Several character names suggest characters in Mozart operas.
      • Al Donfonso (doctor): Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte.
      • Figaro (retired haircutter): Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro.
      • Susanna Susannadanna (Figaro's wife): Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro.
      • Donald Giovanni: Don Giovanni in the opera of the same name.
      • Schlepporello (Donald Giovanni's servant): Don Giovanni's servant Leoporello.
      • Donna Donna (jilted lady): Donna Elvira and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni.
      • Pecadillo (servant to Susanna): Pedrillo, servant to Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio.
      • Blondie (servant to Donna): Blonde, servant to Constanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio.
      • Pasha Shaboom: Pasha Selim in The Abduction from the Seraglio.
      • Opec (servant to the Pasha): Osmin, groundskeeper for the Pasha Selim in The Abduction from the Seraglio.
      • Papa Geno (swineherd): Papageno (a birdcatcher) in The Magic Flute.
      • Mama Geno (Papa Geno's wife): Papagena (Papageno's sweetheart) in The Magic Flute.

P.D.Q. Bach "The Abduction of Figaro" - Act I, Scene I

The Abduction of Figaro, opening scene

  • Plot summary:
    • Act 1

The first act is in an opera buffa style, with recitatives between set pieces.

Figaro is lying in bed, attended by Al Donfonso, a doctor. Susanna and a chorus are present. The doctor detects a heartbeat after getting a couple of peanuts out of Figaro's pocket. He says Figaro must get rest if he's going to live, and then he leaves. Pecadilla and the chorus beg Susanna not to cry. Figaro sits up as if trying to say something and falls back. The doctor returns and applies leeches, to the chorus's disgust. He insists it was a treatment used on George Washington but admits that Washington didn't survive.

Susanna is left alone with Figaro. She puts a pillow under him because his back hurts, then she sings to him to "stay with me," supported by three do-wop singers.

Pecadillo enters, saying a noble lady wants to see Susanna. Donna Donna enters, singing that she is looking for Donald Giovanni, who betrayed her. Her servant Blondie then enters, and she and Pecadillo are immediately very much taken with each other. All four express their views on love in a quartet.

Outside, Donald Giovanni and Schlepporello arrive. Schlepporello says he wants to sing an aria, but Giovanni tells him he's a mute character and shouldn't even be speaking. Susanna and Blondie emerge on the balcony, thinking they heard something. Giovanni is about to approach when Pecadillo enters and sings a serenade. Giovanni asks him about the lady, and Pecadillo tells him she's Susanna Susannadanna. Giovanni calls to Susanna, who comes out to the balcony, and woos her even though she's rather old. She invites him in.

Inside, Susanna shows Figaro lying asleep to Giovanni. Donna Donna enters, recognizes Giovanni, and demands that he marry her or be shot. But then the trunk opens and a pirate emerges, pointing his pistols at everyone present. He introduces himself as Captain Kadd. A dying man told him of a hidden treasure. Kadd gave a map to his ship's cook. He says he's "taking this ship to Cuba." Al Donfonso explains that they aren't on a ship. Kadd takes Figaro and his bed hostage and rolls with them out of the room.

Outside, Donald Giovanni descends a ladder from the balcony, but Donna Donna is waiting for him. He assures her he isn't trying to flee. Rather, he's going to find Figaro and bring him back. He recruits the unwilling Pecadillo to join him and Schlepporello.

At a dock, the men say goodbye to Donna Donna and Blondie as Al Donfonso sings mocking asides. Giovanni, Schlepporello, and Pecadillo board a ship which sails off. Immediately there's a storm, and the ship sinks.

    • Act 2:

The second act shifts to the Singspiel style, with spoken dialogue.

The men have reached an unknown shore, where they find Opec. He's singing a song, and Giovanni asks him between verses where they are. Opec ignores him. (This is a nearly exact parallel to the opening scene of The Abduction from the Seraglio.) Opec, who corresponds to Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio, is a counter-tenor instead of a deep bass. This goes along with the possibility that a person employed in his position would be a eunuch.

Finally Opec replies that they are at the palace of Pasha Shaboom. The Pasha then enters on a litter. After the Dance of the Seven Pails is performed, Opec tells the Pasha of the three suspicious foreigners he has found. The Pasha is clearly stoned and isn't bothered.

Giovanni and Pecadillo express their admiration of two veiled women. They reveal themselves as Donna Donna and Blondie and promptly leave, feeling insulted by the men's lack of fidelity.

Captain Kadd enters with the bed, thinking he's reached Cuba.

Blondie and Donna Donna commiserate. Blondie insists there aren't any faithful men, but Donna Donna wants a man who will be true. Pecadillo sings a song begging for forgiveness. Donna Donna comes out angrily, but Giovanni says she still has his heart. She starts to succumb but then breaks off and denounces him. She's so angry she won't even sing her aria.

Giovanni tells Pecadillo and Schlepporello that it's time to continue their quest to rescue Figaro. Opec says he wants to come with them. He can provide a ship, so they all head off to Cuba.

    • Act 3:

A tropical scene. There's a ballet which has nothing to do with the story. The men (including Opec now) enter and find the ballerinas standing still. They think they're in an enchanted forest or perhaps dreaming, but Pecadillo decides they're simply lost. Schlepporello again wants to sing, but Donald Giovanni reminds him he's mute.

Papa Geno and Mama Geno, a pair of swineherds, enter and introduce themselves in song. Captain Kadd then arrives, still with the bed. He recognizes Papa Geno as the ship's cook and gets a map from him. The directions lead to the bed, and he discovers that Figaro is gone. Where he was lying, though, is the Maltese Falcon. That's why Figaro's back was hurting; the treasure was in the bed the whole time.

Kadd then discovers that the hollow statuette, which was supposed to contain the treasure, is empty. That wasn't in the script! The director wants him to go on, but Kadd insists the production is supposed to be fully staged.

Schlepporello says that he knows where the treasure is, and he'll return it on one small condition — that he be allowed to sing an aria! He suggests an aria of Donald Giovanni's which was cut from the second act. The director gives in. Schlepporello not only sings the aria but does a tap dance. Then he produces the treasure, and the finale finishes, with Kadd celebrating his wealth. An offstage narrator briefly summarizes the later life of the characters.

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