My Dog Has Fleas

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Beethoven chez Mozart
Try as he might, Mozart was always overshadowed by Beethoven's satirical response, Meine Katze hat Mozarts Zunge.

My Dog Has Fleas, a.k.a. K.314159 (German: Mein Hund hat Flöhe) is a dramatic German opera that was composed in 1776 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart while he was fleeing bitter persecution from the Austrian Philharmonic Orchestra. Mozart attributed the libretto to William Shakespeare, though whether this is indeed The Bard or merely a different man of the same name remains a popular drinking topic for academics.

A sequel, My Dog Has No Nose (German: Wie Riecht er? Schrecklich!), was originally in the works but ultimately dropped due to lack of interest.

Commissioning

Mozart fleas
Some suspect the music was inspired by Mozart's observance of several fleas hopping about on a piece of paper. That, or Slovenian salamander brandy.

Mozart, who was down to his last gold pfennig at the time, sought the approval of the Emperor Joseph II to stage a lavish musical production for the Austrian National Theatre using many thousands of trained dancing canines in revealing leotards. In spite of the fact that the private ownership of dogs was banned throughout all Central Europe at the time, the Emperor was sufficiently intrigued to temporarily waive the inconvenient restriction in acquiescence to the brilliant composer's logistical requirements. That a virulent flea-borne strain of bubonic plague wiped out 60% of the Holy Roman Empire's population a mere two weeks later was declared a complete coincidence by Imperial analysts, and later often by Mozart himself whilst beating off hordes of angry, plague-ridden opera-going survivors.

Overview

The opera, in one act lacking any major scene changes, lasts all of 4.33 seconds. The Overture in E major dominates the entire production with a powerful rising archipelago of nearly perfect fourths (played by hundreds of strings and tuning forks in unison). This classic Mozartian melodic motif is recognized the world over to this day, even by unsuspecting people who had never even heard of Mozart, let alone classical music.

The Plot, as such

Motzartdog
Mozart with one of his leading hounds.

The plot, as such, centers around a coastal seaport in 16th century Portugal, in which the main protagonist, Don Ho, attempts to woo a young nubile maiden (Donna Summer) with his gigantic electric ukulele. Emotional tension rises to unbearable levels when the Don accidentally strikes an off-note (D flat instead of D natural), because, as luck wouldst have it, the ukulele, instead of being a genuine Stradivarius™ as the Don was led to believe when he purchased it not half an hour previously, was, in fact, a cheap Hawaiian import. Summer's pet French poodle bites the Don in retaliation, who immediately drops dead of rabies (Don Ho, that is, not the poodle. Although the poodle presumably dies of sexual exhaustion soon after the events of the opera.). As the Don breathes his last, thousands of poodles, hounds, terriers, spaniels, bulldogs, collies, beagles, mastiffs, pinschers, sheepdogs, boxers, huskies, labradors, rottweilers, pugs, schnauzers, pekingese, mutts, mongrels, and vagrants pirouette onstage in skimpy leotards in what was historically the first example of a psychedelic representation of a character's inner state. As the curtain descends, we (the opera-going audience) are compelled to reflect upon the mysteries of life, death, rabid poodles, and unrequited love, until such time that we are bodily thrown out of the theatre by the angry theatre manager, presumably for loitering.

Lackluster Reception

The opera opened to mixed reviews in the Vienna Times, and was mercilessly slammed by the Italian press as "having too few notes". Rumour had it that Mozart was so disappointed with the lackluster reception that he blamed his mortal enemy Antonio Salieri of malicious sabotagé, and immediately filed suit against him in the Habsburg Court of Petty Revenge (HCPR), where the case is still pending to this day.

Mozart, meanwhile, went on to compose entire shitloads of other, relatively unimportant operas, all of which bombed similarly.

Modern Revival

In today's postmodern world of operatic revival, Mein Hund hat Flöhe is orchestrated mostly as Mozart intended, with ukuleles and French poodles, except where illegal, in which case it is performed entirely by trained monkeys with banjos. The recent outbreak of monkey-borne rabies currently decimating the opera-going populace has been declared a complete coincidence by the World Health Organization, which still recommends that one shoots oneself after seeing the opera.

See Also

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