There are few things more satisfying, I think, than discovering what that mysterious bit of opera on the radio at 2 in the morning was. I listened to something the night before last for long enough to realise that it was some sort of opera spoof, à la P.D.Q. Bach perhaps, using the Pyramus and Thisbe story. It was certainly funny but at that time of night I didn't really have the attention span or the energy for it so I gave up in favour of Magdalena Kozena's Le belle immagini (Mozart, Gluck, Myslivecek) CD instead. But today I determined to find out just what on earth it was that was on the radio. Not, as I had thought possible, a recent work using existing Baroque music but in fact Pyramus and Thisbe: A Mock Opera by John Frederick Lampe who worked in Händel's orchestra in London and then became a composer himself.
The best synopsis I can find is that of 'a music fan' reviewing the CD on Amazon:
Pyramus & Thisbe is a musical parody on Italian opera, embedded into a spoken mini-play in which two English musicians are attempting to persuade their third colleague who had just returned from Italy that Britain has as much to offer by way of high brow entertainment as does Italy. The two advocates of home-grown opera thus present the haughty Italophile with the opera of their own creation. By the end the critic becomes persuaded; and the characters of the opera step out of their roles and express a wish that we, the audience, become persuaded too.
So that was an interesting little discovery to make.
However, I must say I don't regret turning it off for the ever-lovely Magdalena Kozena.