The soprano left out the album's most important detail: It's got Paul fucking Stanley. The Kiss frontman dueting with Brightman on "I Will Be With You (Where the Lost Ones Go)" is the sort of bizarre genre cross-pollination that comes along once a decade. In this corner: The ever-ithyphallic Stanley, king purveyor of onstage piffle, a rock god who collects women's underwear like a warrior collects ears. And in this corner: The air-brushed Brightman, more comfortable with audiences of the cufflink-and-pearls variety.
Of course, such a studio collaboration could be topped only by a live performance, so in the spirit of satire, we bring you this one-act play:
SETTING: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy.
Brightman: What a joy it is to be here, at the queen of the world's opera houses. As a child, I clutched a scratchy 45 of soprano Retana Tebaldi performing at La Scala during . . .
Stanley: (Dancing his trademark one-fist-in-the-air, sidestep shuffle) All right, Milan! You people are dynamite!
Brightman: (Sheepishly) Ladies and gentleman, my friend and cohort, Mr. Paul Stanley.
Stanley: All right, listen! Do we have any people here tonight that like to get high?! Do we have any people here tonight that are high?! How many of you people like to take a taste of alcohol?!
Brightman: (Under her breath) Paul, remember what we discussed. No Mr. Diarrhea of the Mouth tonight.
Stanley: It's getting so hot outside and I know you need something to cool you off! I was talking to someone backstage before and they were telling me there's a lot of you people that like to drink . . . Aglianico del Taburno!
Brightman: (Trying to play along) I see you save the vodka-and-orange-juice bit for Richmond.
Stanley: (Rending his shirt from his body to reveal a thick mat of Grecian-worked chest hair) Milan, I am packing a gun tonight! I'm not talking about just any firearm. I'm talking about my six-shooter of sex. I'm talking about my Uzi of ooze. My love gun!
Brightman: (Managing an embarrassed smile) Paul, please — the song, remember? "Lascia Ch'io Pianga," from the Italian opera Rinaldo. You're to play the melody on guitar.
Stanley: (Unfazed) Looks like some of you people down in the loggione have got a case of rock 'n' roll pneumonia!
(Brightman buries her face in her hands. Stanley begins gesticulating for cameras that aren't there, cavorting about like in the video for "Turn on the Night.")
Stanley: Uh-uh-uh uhhh. Yeah-yeah-yeah. Do-do-do-doooo-do-do-do-do-do.
(Brightman leaves the stage crying. Stanley leaps into the golfo mistico and begins thrusting his spandexed groin for the aghast musicians.)
Stanley: Now listen! This orchestra here tonight is beautiful! Right here we got one of the two best timpani players I know named Alessandro. And over there: From the famous bassoon-playing Barzagli brothers, tonight we have the one with the mustache! Over here . . .
(Stanley's microphone is cut. The curtain comes down. Patrons file out quietly.)