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While surfing through nodal space, I came across on E2 the nick Teiresias, which jogged a memory far removed from either the myth or the scribe of the same name. Years ago I heard a comic opera by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) entitled Les Mammelles de Tirésias, which can be translated exactly as Tirésias' Tits. It was staged in Paris in the last days of WWII in 1947, I believe. (No, I wasn't there!)

I don't remember much of the plot, possibly because it was so surrealistic but I do recall the scene that gave the opera it's name. If memory serves, the woman has decided to become a man; she opens her bodice to release her tits which float upward. While puffing a cigar, she praises the beauty of her mammary glands and tells how they have driven men crazy. She closes the aria with an equivalent of, "enough of these aerodynamics" and bursts both tits with the lit cigar.

Another moment I recall is when the husband of the woman who has become a man, begins to create babies using thought power with catastropic results. The chorus of squalling babies is deafening. Finally, the most haunting musical passage I recall is when two men argue about where they are. One says Zanzibar and the other claims it's Paris.

Thanks, Teiresias, for the memory!

Les Mammelles de Tirésias, normally translated as The Breasts of Tiresias, is a play by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire written during the First World War. It is perhaps most famous on account of Apollinaire's introduction, in which he coins the phrase Surrealism.

The play was indeed set in Zanzibar, and contains much of the action stepnwolf describes above. The character Therese decides to become a man, releases her breasts, and becomes known as Tiresias. The play is heavily influenced by Alfred Jarry's Ubu Plays, and in turn influenced future Surrealist and dada theatre, including Antonin Artaud's The Jet of Blood.

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