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Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?

Related thread:
'The Desert Song' retelling (36)


MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 12:54 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 01:33 AM
banjoman 20 May 12 - 05:56 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 06:16 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 06:20 AM
JJ 20 May 12 - 08:50 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 08:57 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 09:21 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 09:23 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 07:17 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 07:22 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 09:14 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 May 12 - 11:03 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 12 - 12:05 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 12 - 02:49 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 12 - 03:27 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 12 - 06:18 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 12 - 06:12 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 12 - 10:35 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 12 - 12:55 AM
JJ 22 May 12 - 08:39 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 12 - 08:57 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 23 May 12 - 04:31 AM
JJ 23 May 12 - 08:20 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 23 May 12 - 08:22 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 23 May 12 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,999 23 May 12 - 08:50 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 23 May 12 - 09:14 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 May 12 - 08:50 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 May 12 - 09:11 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 12 - 08:16 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 May 12 - 12:44 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 12 - 06:35 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 12 - 06:41 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 12 - 06:50 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Jun 12 - 09:24 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Jun 12 - 09:26 PM
JJ 11 Jun 12 - 08:52 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 11 Jun 12 - 09:31 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 15 Jul 12 - 08:31 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 15 Jul 12 - 08:43 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 12 - 08:47 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 15 Jul 12 - 08:52 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 15 Jul 12 - 08:58 AM
Fred Maslan 15 Jul 12 - 02:39 PM
Fred Maslan 15 Jul 12 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Guest,,USA 15 Jul 12 - 09:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 15 Jul 12 - 11:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Jul 12 - 12:33 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 16 Jul 12 - 02:39 AM
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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 12:54 AM

Another ETA: On those songs, I've read the threads on vocal production on here, and obviously, as a woman and a soprano, (my last teacher told me I was a soprano)
I sound very different singing "Soft as a Pigeon Lights" or "If One Flower Grows Alone In Your Garden" than a (male) tenor singing the same songs.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 01:33 AM

Anyone still interested in analysing TDS for fun?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: banjoman
Date: 20 May 12 - 05:56 AM

I actually saw John Hanson in the Desert Song at the Empire in Liverpool -my elder sister took me because she was given tickets and was a JH fan - and although I dont remember much of the plot some of the songs still float to the surface occasionally.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:16 AM

Banjoman, was the production you saw any good? The only stage plays I've seen have been for school. I saw the Sydney Theatre Company's production of The Crucible. It was really good.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:20 AM

BTW, when I described the plot to a teacher at my school she said it was "like a sheikh romance, kidnapped and taken into the desert" by a (supposed) Middle Eastern/North African guy.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: JJ
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:50 AM

Your teacher was right. Orientalism on stage goes back as least as far as Mozart's "Abduction From the Seraglio" (libretto by Bretzner and Stephanie).

But I think the proximate cause of "The Desert Song" is Edith Maude Hull's 1919 novel "The Sheik," and the immensely popular 1921 Rudolph Valentino film based on it. And in the novel, the Arab sheik turns out to be not an Arab at all, but of Spanish and English descent. Hurrah!

Like many works, "The Desert Song" will not bear very much analysis. For one thing, how did Paul manage to get to be the big boss of the Riffs in the first place? But it can be an enjoyable romance, even in these ironic times. You might be able to find the script in a local library, as I did.

It's my belief that Hammerstein's creation of Azuri, the emotional Arab; Wanda, the murderous Indian (in "Rose-Marie"); and Adah, the loving quadroon (in "The New Moon") -- these three women who are "the other" -- led Jerome Kern to choose him to write the book and lyrics for "Show Boat," which features the "tragic mulatto" Julie, a character much more real than either of the first three.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:57 AM

ETA: Talking about characters- watching the 1929 film I always thought that Azuri was at least slightly sympathetic. I mean, from the way she talks- "When pretty French girl smile at you, you forget Azuri", you (well I do,/i>)anyway, get the impression that Capt. Fontaine just left her when he went back to France and got engaged to Margot.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 09:21 AM

JJ: Incidentally, you may be interested to know that The Desert Song is also the inspiration for the steampunk story I'm working on at the moment. (It's only in first draft, but is getting on OK). There's a Red Shadow, an actual Arab chieftain of a nomadic desert tribe, not a White guy pretending to be an Arab, and an Azuri, a street dancer of mixed heritage and a member of the Red Shadow's tribe and the anti-heroine, and the "desert magic" is literal magic. And oh yeah, there's a Pierre/Paul-type character too, who's a cousin to the Margot character. Yeah, I like this musical so much, I decided to twist the plot.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 09:23 AM

ETA: I love Show Boat too.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:17 PM

ETA 2: Actually, the story was inspired by the question, "What if the R.S. was an Arab?"
and it's fantasy with Spain as well as France being important.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:22 PM

ETA: And the guerrilla warfare/opposition to colonialism aspect is more important than the romantic aspect.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 09:14 PM

And I hope I can do enough research to avoid Orientalist stereotypes of the Middle East/North Africa/ anywhere "in the Islamic world" etc to create a plausible fantasy-Morocco, not one based on stereotypes of the barbaric noble savage living in the desert, harem girls etc. I can't think of any fictional books in Middle Eastern/North African settings that don't involve those portrayed in a very stereotypical way.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 May 12 - 11:03 PM

Anyone think a Desert Songreworking is something they'd like to read?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 12 - 12:05 AM

*That should be a space.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 12 - 02:49 AM

Anyone?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 12 - 03:27 AM

And something else; did Hammerstein make up Azuri's name?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 12 - 06:18 AM

Refresh. Anyone want to offer their opinions on the idea of a TDS reworking?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 12 - 06:12 PM

Refresh. And for that matter, Tv Tropes summarised the plot as "The Sheik, with a two person love triangle,". IMO it's The Sheik meets The Scarlet Pimpernel.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 12 - 10:35 PM

JJ: Also, I think he got the Riff leadership because he was really good at single combat. Mighty whitey much?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 12 - 12:55 AM

Of course, the mighty whitey was very common in fiction for a long time...


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: JJ
Date: 22 May 12 - 08:39 AM

And still is! See "Avatar," as I wrote elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 12 - 08:57 PM

And Disney's Pocahontas, which has an identical plot structure to Avatar, so much that it's hard to not believe that Cameron wasn't inspired by it. In fact, Avatar is basically the Disney movie IN THE FUTURE, WITH ALIENS!
And TDS itself is The SheikWITH A SECRET IDENTITY TWIST!


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 23 May 12 - 04:31 AM

SeeRecycled In Space


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: JJ
Date: 23 May 12 - 08:20 AM

Actually, "Pocahontas" has a Love vs. Honor conflict right out of the drama of Restoration England. The heroine must give up her love for John Smith because her honor demands she remain with her people.

In "Avatar," the hero gets to keep his honor and have love, too, because in the 21st century, we can have it all!


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 23 May 12 - 08:22 AM

And it's one of the few Disney animated movies where the leads don't end up together.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 23 May 12 - 07:09 PM

And, incidentally Where did Azuri's name come from? The etymology is obviously invented, as there are no tigers in any African country.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 May 12 - 08:50 PM

Much as I hate to say this, I shall. You want to be a writer? Write! Questions about this or that--hey, go search for yourself. I ain't gonna help you do your homework, capiche? You have some sloppy punctuation errors in the bit you posted. That is what first drafts are: sloppy errors that happen because you are too busy writing to correct them. I wrote eight short stories that took me two years to write, edit and get 'published'. I also recall sending you a few paragraphs from one of the stories to demonstrate how 'research' is both necessary and time-consuming--and I did spend hours trying to help you with the Dickens' tale you were onto at the time. You did not then have the decency to say thank you. I realize that your persona is young, but your youth does not make this old fart stupid. This comes from the heart, so accept it or not.

Best wishes with the book. But please keep in mind that your passion-of-the-moment is not far up on my list of things to do.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 23 May 12 - 09:14 PM

Alright. I'm leaving this thread to work on it.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 May 12 - 08:50 PM

Have been working on the piece, but just returning to mention something about the original. I have a theory (unproven of course) that the Riffs in TDS are actually inspired by the Sahrawi people, and the tribe that appears in the play are inspired by the Oulad Delim in particular, for two main reasons:

1) RL Riffs aren't Arabs, but Berbers, as Q said, and their traditional territory isn't anywhere near the desert (which makes up only the southern part of Morocco).
2) The area of the operetta's Riffs' territory is specifically said to be under French control. French Morocco never included the north of the country but it did include every other region, including the south.
3) The Oulad Delim mostly live in cities like Dakhla in the Western Sahara, but there are some in Southern Morocco, and they were opposed to the French.

Of course, all this assumes that Hammerstein knew about this. He and the other librettists probably took some real-life inspiration and made up everything else.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 May 12 - 09:11 PM

4) The Oulad Delim were a Hassane caste tribe (traditionally warriors) which would fit with the Riff leader having to be a good fighter and the R.S. being banished when he refuses to fight.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 12 - 08:16 AM

Another point re the names, Pierre Birabeau has the same initials as Percy Blakeney, and Margot is a form of Marguerite which if it was intentional, is a clever reference to The Scarlet Pimpernel.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 May 12 - 12:44 PM

French-control of Morocco extended to the strait at Gibralter, so they did control the north. See map- http://www.scribd.com/doc/217606/Map-Morocco-French

I commented on the idea of remake, but refuse to contribute to any specific attempt. A nervous nellie mudelf deleted it.
In essence, I avoid rehashes and most attempted revisions.

Originality is preferable.

Current horrors are "Sherlock" in British TVs, "Hawaii 50" on American television, and staging of a number of baroque operas in performances issued on DVD. Any intent of the original author(s) is thoroughly trashed.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 12 - 06:35 PM

What about Lord of the Flies, though? That could be seen as a remake of The Coral Island.. (but I know it's more than that).


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 12 - 06:41 PM

ETA: TDS itself has the same plot as The Sheik: Beautiful heroine is kidnapped by a frightening Arab guy, slowly falls in love with him, then discovers he isn't Arab.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 12 - 06:50 PM

And also "The story is a variation on stories such as The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, and Superman." And "The Sheik."


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Jun 12 - 09:24 PM

Returning to something I thought of when looking back at JJ's Post; not only is Adah (not from Hammerstein, but Rida Johnson Young in Naughty Marietta), the stereotype of the submissive, beautiful non-White woman (which sets my teeth on edge as an Asian) but she and Azuri from TDS might both be cardboard-cut-outs. However, IMO the scene where Azuri says "White men have hurt me- hurt me much. Today I have been paid back for all of my hurts" makes her just a bit sympathetic.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Jun 12 - 09:26 PM

Addition to the above: To me, at least.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: JJ
Date: 11 Jun 12 - 08:52 AM

You're right! In my haste, I put Adah in the wrong New Orleans musical. Instead of Hammerstein and Kern's THE NEW MOON, she belongs to Rida Johnson Young and Victor Herbert's NAUGHTY MARIETTA.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 Jun 12 - 09:31 PM

JJ, and actually, Adah's perspective in a radically reworked NM would be pretty entertaining to read. IMHO of course. Many of these operettas would make great swashbuckling adventure stories. In the case of NM, which is in the public domain,
I've got an idea (very low on the scale of story importance) where Marietta is a singer/ actress/courtesan who comes to Louisiana to escape poverty in Italy.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:31 AM

Have been looking through the score and Just noticed that in the reprise of The Song of the Brass Key, which begins "Give him the key, the key to your heart", Clementina seems to be encouraging Pierre and Margot to get together. How does that work? She's just arrived from Spain... unless everyone can see it.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:43 AM

And BTW, I know operettas and plausible plots with no holes don't exactly go together, but that doesn't change the fact that my suspension of disbelief is seriously stretched. And Clementina is my dream role.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:47 AM

I used to sing a lot of the Desert Song numbers in old peoples homes during the early 80s along with Granada and other tenor stuff. Joseph Locke is still popular in the UK There are people in the Tax Office very anxious to meet him ! - they made a film about him as I recall

The lure of exotic locations and peoples is a theme going through literature e g Count Dracula - The Sheik - etc. Describing someone as a sheik in the 30s meant he was quite good looking in a dark romantic sort of way


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:52 AM

GUEST: Dracula isn't exactly a romantic hero :) and I've got to say, I don't know what the appeal of The Sheik was.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:58 AM

And I also think it's sad that none of my musical geek friends have heard of this operetta. (Anyone else bugged by the plot holes?)


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: Fred Maslan
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 02:39 PM

About the secret identity, In opera in general there is the convention of people wearing flimsy masks and nobody figuring out who it is till the masks are removed.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: Fred Maslan
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 02:42 PM

By the way I love the music from Desert Song, but the plot? No.


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: GUEST,Guest,,USA
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 09:00 PM

I always liked the movie with Mario Lanza, and I have the album. If the movie and music are not very familiar anymore then maybe it's time for a remake?


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 11:05 PM

I don't think there was a movie with Mario Lanza...


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 12:33 AM

He didn't make very many - and he had a short sad life himself that is worthy of a melodrama. Mario Lanza at IMDb. I think you've confused him with Gordon MacRae.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Anyone want to discuss The Desert Song?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:39 AM

Yeah, SRS, I think Guest confused them too. When I saw that I thought, WHAT? Mario Lanza was never in a movie of TDS! (Shows how much of a geek I am.) BTW, I'd love to act in a stage production of The Desert Song myself. My dream role is Clementina.
I'd also love to be Adah in Naughty Marietta, just for the chance to sing "Neath The Southern Moon."


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