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'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act

DigiTrad:
ONE MEATBALL
ONE MEATBALL (2)
THE LONE FISH BALL


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Lyr Req: One Meatball / Lone Fish-Ball (21)
Lyr Req: One Meat Ball (answered)^^^ (2) (closed)


Abby Sale 12 Jan 02 - 11:30 AM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 02 - 12:54 PM
Joe_F 12 Jan 02 - 09:19 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM
Matthew Edwards 05 Oct 10 - 06:14 PM
Joe_F 05 Oct 10 - 06:19 PM
Joe Offer 12 Nov 17 - 11:27 PM
leeneia 13 Nov 17 - 10:47 AM
Joe_F 13 Nov 17 - 09:00 PM
Joe Offer 15 Nov 17 - 07:15 PM
Stewart 16 Nov 17 - 03:39 PM
Snuffy 17 Nov 17 - 05:11 AM
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Subject: 'One Fish Ball'
From: Abby Sale
Date: 12 Jan 02 - 11:30 AM


FYI, there's a copy of this great epic available through amazon.com at

Fishball
(If that's not a permanent page, search in Books on Child, Francis.)

Child, Francis James.: Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act. Price: $54.00

Description: Title: Il Pescaballo:
Opera in One Act. English Version by
James Russell Lowell Place of
Publication: Chicago: The Caxton Club
Date of Publication: 1899




As you certainly know, this is the origin of the thread that lead to Josh White recording the super folk-hit, "One Meat Ball." Anyone know if White got paid anything for that.

If you buy the book, consider lending it to me...


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 02 - 12:54 PM

So, Abby, did you offer to buy the book and transcribe the opera for us, and post it here? I'd love to see it.
I think our primary thread on "one meatball" is here (click).
-Joe Offer, nervously awaiting my bride-


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball'
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Jan 02 - 09:19 PM

Let us start a fund for that purpose. I'll be happy to contribute.

Indeed, I'll be happy to buy codfish for a ceremonial banquet in Harvard Square.


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM

The book really exists, although its title was misspelled in the title and first message of this thread, which made it difficult to find.

<rant>Dang it! Why can't people learn to be careful when they copy down an unfamiliar word? Don't they know that having even one letter wrong will screw up a search with a search engine? Even Google was no help this time. It asked 'Did you mean "Il Pes Caballo"?'

And of course the link is dead now, so that's no use, either.</rant>

The title, correctly spelled, is Il Pesceballo: Opera in One Act, Italian words by Francis James Child, English version by James Russell Lowell (Chicago: The Caxton Club, 1899).

An online facsimile can be seen at The Hathi Trust Digital Library.

I didn't see any musical notation in that copy, but I haven't read the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:14 PM

I hope you feel better, Jim, after that little rant! :-) Abby's post was eight years ago, and possibly the spelling error came from Amazon in the first plaice [sic].

I couldn't access the facsimile you linked to, probably due to copyright issues &c from the UK, but I did find another copy in the Internet Archive Il Pesceballo, and it is a delightful piece of academic fun.

According to the introduction the original 'One Fishball' ballad is ascribed to Professor Lane, Professor of Latin at Harvard, and during the Civil War it was worked over by Professor Child into a mock Italian operetta, with an English version by Professor Lowell, and was performed at Cambridge for the benefit of a fund for the [Union] soldiers.

Here is Child's rendition of the crux of the ballad:-

IL CAMERIERE (con furia) Con un pesceballo, voi pan' domandate?
Voi matto siete, per certo, scusate!
Siffatta richiesta d prova funesta
Di debole testa, d'un cieco furore!
E sintomo certo siffatta richiesta
Di menta distratta, d'un cieco furor!

Then here is the English version by James Russell Lowell;

WAITER (with fury) With one single fish-ball, is't bread ye are after?
So wild a presumption provokes me to laughter!
So mad a suggestion proves, out of all question,
Howe'er you the test shun, you're mad as a hornet!
I trample it, scorn it, so mad a suggestion!
It fills me with fury, it dumbs me with rage!

Matthew


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Joe_F
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:19 PM

No, there is no music in it.


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Subject: One Fish-Ball and Charlie and the MTA
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 11:27 PM

So, in this evening's phone call, Robert Rodriquez wanted to know the source of "One Meat Ball." I started to pontificate about Il Pescaballo, and Robert wasn't sure he believed me about the tie to Francis James Child. So, I went to the Il Pesceballo article in Wikipedia, and found this:
    Il pesceballo, (The Fish-Ball) is a 19th-century American pasticcio opera in one act featuring the music of Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart, and Rossini, with a spoof Italian libretto by Francis James Child which makes use of some of grand opera's most popular melodies. The recitatives and chorus parts were written by John Knowles Paine, and James Russell Lowell translated the libretto into English.

    Child was a Harvard English professor and opera lover, and the text was originally inspired by an incident which occurred to a colleague of his. One evening George Martin Lane was trying to make his way to Cambridge, MA, from Boston. He discovered that he had only 25 cents, which was not enough for both supper and the fare needed to get to Cambridge. As he was very tired and hungry, he stopped at a local diner and asked for half of a serving of macaroni. After he had recounted the story to his friends, he wrote a comic ballad, called the Lay of the One Fishball. A fishball was a fried New England concoction made of potatoes and fish stock, and usually eaten for breakfast. The ballad became very popular with Harvard students, and inspired Child's opera; it also became the source for the popular Tin Pan Alley song, "One Meat Ball".
"Charlie and the MTA" came almost a century later. so you can see that the "one more nickel" problem existed for a long, long time.
Now, it appears that the MTA is called the "T," or at least it was the "T" that goes from Duxbury to Boston. I took the "T," and am happy to report that I was able to debark with no problems. In fact, I got off right near the "Cheers" tavern, another icon of Boston pop folklore.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 10:47 AM

Well, heck. I hoped to track down some fine melodies composed by Child himself, but Wiki says this is "an opera in one act featuring the music of Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart, and Rossini, with a spoof Italian libretto by Francis James Child which makes use of some of grand opera's most popular melodies."

So nothing new. I bet it would be fun to do, though.


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 09:00 PM

The URL given by Jim Dixon (05 Oct 10) still works, and in the Introduction you may find mentioned the titles of all the tunes stolen for the songs in the opera. So, if you are an opera buff, you should be able to supply them. No tune, however, is mentioned or given for the "local ballad" that started it all. Josh White's tune does fit it.

It strikes me that Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square would make an excellent venue for a performance. Perhaps the establishment could even make fish balls a monthly special, with the price scaled up according to inflation.


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 07:15 PM

OK, and in all this, I'm wondering about fish balls. The Wikipedia article on fish balls describes fishballs from Scandinavia and Asia, and all those fishballs are made out of ..... fish. But the Wikipedia article on Il Pesceballo says a fishball was a fried New England concoction made of potatoes and fish stock, and usually eaten for breakfast. Has anyone eaten these delicacies? Are they sold in diners in New England? Are they like tater-tots cooked in fish juice? There's a Portuguese dish made of potatoes and fish - any connection?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Stewart
Date: 16 Nov 17 - 03:39 PM

Fiskeboller: "funny white balls, made up of ground white fish, served in a rather ?naked? state only with a bechamel sauce, boiled potatoes, coleslaw or broccoli and asparagus."

not that great! but you can get them in the Ballard (Scandinavian) neighborhood of Seattle

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: 'One Fish Ball' - Il Pescaballo: Opera in One Act
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Nov 17 - 05:11 AM

They sound like what we Brits call "fishcakes" or "fish cakes". Wikipedia tells us:

A fishcake (sometimes written as fish cake) is a food item similar to a croquette, consisting of filleted fish or other seafood with potato patty, sometimes coated in breadcrumbs or batter, and fried.

Fishcakes as defined in the Oxford Dictionary of Food and Nutrition are Chopped or Minced Fish mixed with Potato, Egg and Flour with seasonings of onions, peppers and sometimes herbs.[1]

The fishcake has been seen as a way of using up leftovers that might otherwise be thrown away. In Mrs Beeton's 19th century publication Book of Household Management, her recipe for fishcakes calls for "leftover fish" and "cold potatoes." More modern recipes have added to the dish, suggesting ingredients such as smoked salmon and vegetables.

Here's a recipe for a rather upmarket version you can make yourself.


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