Oh, you're going to enjoy this one. It's musical comedy all right, but not in the sense that I usually present them.
Nope, this is Anna Russell and her take on Wagner's Ring Cycle. She does all 20 or so hours in about 30 minutes, makes it understandable, and she's hilarious. I would call it stand-up comedy, except she's sitting at her piano.
Russell became known for her deadpan humour, including her disbelieving emphasis of the absurd in well accepted stories and her mockery of pretension. For example, in her humorous analysis of Wagner's Ring cycle, she began by noting that the first scene takes place in the River Rhine: "In it!!" After pointing out that a character in the Ring Cycle is the first woman that Siegfried has ever met who is not his aunt, she pauses and declares, "I'm not making this up, you know!" This phrase also became the title of her autobiography, published in 1985. At the end of her monologue she sings the Rhinemaidens' leitmotif and declares, "You're exactly where you started, 20 hours ago!" Besides her Ring and Gilbert and Sullivan parodies, Russell was famous for other routines, including "Wind Instruments I Have Known", and parodies of Lieder ("Schlumpf"), French art songs ("Je ne veux pas faire l'amour" and "Je n'ai pas la plume de ma tante"), English folk songs ("I Wish I Were a Dicky-Bird" and "Oh How I Love the Spring"), and English music-hall songs ("I'm Only A Faded Rose"); even stretching to blues and jazz ("(I Gave You My Heart and You Made Me) Miserable").
h/t, btw, to chingchongchinaman, who first introduced me to this beautiful satire.
Anna Russell, née Anna Claudia Russell-Brown (27 December 1911 – 18 October 2006) was an English–Canadian singer and comedian. She gave many concerts in which she sang and played comic musical sketches on the piano. Among her best-known works are her concert performances and famous recordings of The Ring of the Nibelungs (An Analysis) – a humorous 22-minute synopsis of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen – and (on the same album) her parody How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera.http://en.wikipedia.org/...