By order of HQ, Supergreccia, Bombardier Carlo Piero Cuercio is to report for operatic duty at every and any whim of Captain Antonio Corelli of the 33rd Regiment of Artillery, Acqui Division.
Rules of engagement:
1. All those called to regular Musical fatigues shall be obliged to play a musical instrument (spoons, tin helmet, comb-and-paper, etc.).
2. Anyone failing persistently to reach high notes shall be emasculated, his testicles to be donated to charitable causes.
3. Anyone maintaining that Donizetti is better than Verdi shall be dressed as a woman, mocked openly before the battery and its guns, shall wear a cooking pot upon his head, and, in extreme cases, shall be required to sing “Funiculi Funicula” and any other songs about railways that Captain Antonio Corelli shall from time to time see fit to determine.
4. All aficionados of Wagner shall be shot peremptorily, without trial, and without leave of appeal.
5. Drunkenness shall be mandatory only at those times when Captain Antonio Corelli is not buying the drinks.
Signed; General Vecchiarelli, Supreme Commander, Supergreccia, on behalf of His Majesty, King Victor Emmanuel
“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Ch 24 “A Most Ungracious Surrender”
This book (ignore the film) is brilliant. It first paints the horrors of war, with the Italian failed invasion of Greece and the German offensive which saved it… and follows with the whimsy of an eccentrically hilarious Italian officer who takes charge of the occupation of Cephallonia.
Who evidently, takes particular pleasure in music. Including making an opera out of soldiers sitting on a row of latrines together, to take away the shame of going to the toilet collectively. Indeed, he takes it a step further: With every crescendo, the soldiers are obliged to drop one.