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The Impresario

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The story begins with a worn-out opera manager, Mr. Scruples (The Impresario), who desires to retreat to the peacefulness of farm life. However, Mr. Angel, a wealthy businessman, has other ideas. He is determined to persuade Scruples to hire a faded prima donna, Madame Goldentrill, with whom Angel has had a long-term, amorous relationship.

Mr. Scruples and his assistant, Mr. Bluff, are induced into auditioning her. She performs an impressive aria, displaying her vocal virtuosity. She agrees on a contract of 500 crowns and descends to her carriage to await Mr. Angel, while he supposedly completes the deal. Miss Silverpeal, a lovely, young protege arrives. She had been waiting impatiently for Mr. Angel to summon her from below. He has vowed to secure her a contract as well. She sings an aria of adoration , then demands a contract of 750 crowns.

Angel interjects before Scruples can disagree. (Mr. Bluff and Angel may have plotted prior to this: Bluff wants to sing; Angel is bankrolling the company just to keep both ladies happy). Madame Goldentrill returns to overhear the agreement, is furious, and a fierce duet begins, each arguing her position as the true prima donna.

A trio ensues in which Mr. Angel tries to soothe them and mediate their dispute by offering them 1000 crowns a week, star billing, and their names in print larger than even the composer's. He insists that criticism of one artist by another can only degrade art.

Meanwhile, Scruples is apathetic to the entire scenario. He states that opera can never be destroyed by individual ambition, then promptly assigns Mr. Bluff as the new impresario and departs. Bluff ecstatically hires himself as "primo buffo" and names Mr. Angel to be the next impresario, effective immediately. The quartet remains to proclaim that while all artists must always strive for excellence, self-ambition will destroy even the finest.

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