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Eudemon Visits Nessun Dorma: ‘None Shall Sleep’

No one sleeps!… No one sleeps!… Nor do you, o princess in your cold room Look the stars that tremble with love and hope! But my mystery it is locked in me, my name no one will know! No, no, only on your mouth I will reveal it, when dawn’s light will shine! My kiss will break the silence and make you mine!

Eudemon stopped in at the new place on Weil and Hadley, Nessun Dorma, to check it out. It is another Riverwest corner bar that has gone through changes over the years. Eudemon thought of earlier versions, recently the Stork Club, a gritty bar with lots of characters. The Gordon Park Pub, with a palette of music ranging from Voot Warning, the Violent Femmes, to the Ghostly Trio with their translucent red Christmas album of ghostly carols. “What is the angle of this new place and what the hell is Nessun Dorma?” thought Eudemon. Well, it turns out that the place has been tidied up by the building owner. There is a new floor and the woodwork has been restored. This gives the place a warm and inviting appeal. A sign on the wall beckons, “This is where we want to be.” The owners plan to serve simple but quality Italian food.

Riverwest Currents is proud to sponsor the Grand Opening of Nessun Dorma on Saturday, November 23 from 5PM to closing. Sample food from the menu and listen to the Mark Rattner Jazz Duo. $5 cover. 2778 N. Weil St. 414-264-8466. A portion of the proceeds from this event will got to the Riverwest Currents.

There is a good selection of beers and Eudemon orders a “Louis Demise” and settles in at the bar. A piano sits against the wall. The piano has survived the ownership transition. Music is playing over the sound system but it is not so loud that you can’t talk with your neighbor. “So, what’s this name thing?” Eudemon asks the bartender, who turns out to be Joe Gilsdorf, one of the owners. Joe responds, “Oh it’s from an opera by Puccini and means something like, ‘no one sleeps’ or ‘none shall sleep.'” “Bars named after operas? What have we come to in Riverwest?” mumbles Eudemon. But he is intrigued. Eudemon thinks that he too should open an opera bar and call it ” O Fortuna” after the chorus from Carmina Burana. “Now that’s a name for a bar,” thinks Eudemon. “All kinds of drinking and carrying on goes on in that opera and you can blame it on fate as you lift your glass in toast.” Later Eudemon is driven to discover the story of Turandot, the Puccini Opera with the “Nessun Dorma” aria. A little searching and Eudemon has the story. Eudemon tells his friend, “Turandot is a beautiful princess in Peking, the Forbidden City. She must have been really beautiful because the rules say that any prince who wants to marry her has to answer three riddles successfully or die. Turandot is determined not to be wed to any man. She has it in for all men because of a conquering prince who killed her ancestor. “Well, after they beheaded the Prince of Persia you would think there wouldn’t be any prince anxious to ring the gong. However, Prince Calaf has seen her and is smitten. He rings the gong and Turandot appears. Riddle one: What is born each night and dies each dawn? Calaf answers, ‘Hope.’ Riddle two: What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not fire? Calaf answers, ‘Blood.’ The princess is getting nervous now as she delivers riddle three: What is like ice but burns? “Calaf pauses and then cries, ‘Turandot!’ The princess tries to get out of the deal, but her father won’t let her. Calaf wants her but he wants her to want him. He has a riddle of his own. If she can guess his real name by dawn he will die. Well Turandot decides to torture Calaf’s friends to find out his mystery name. Unsuccessful, she ends up confronting Calaf, who takes her in his arms and kisses her. Discovering passion for the first time, Turandot yields. The prince, sure of his conquest, tells her his name is ‘Amor.’ His name is love.” Eudemon relates a story within the story to his friend, “Well, this is all in Italian and the translations are a little iffy. For instance in the aria Nessun Dorma , the prince sings that no one will know his name until he – No, no, sulla tua bocca lo diro — tells her on her mouth.” This may be a metaphor for kissing, and in reading about this Eudemon ran into a supposed line from a Marx Brothers movie, “I wasn’t kissing her. I was whispering in her mouth.” Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 10 – November 2002