Pinellino’s Lament for « Johnny » is in memory of Carl Goerz (1949-2011), a singer who played the role of Gianni Schicchi in a presentation of Puccini’s opera here in Saskatchewan. (We performed it in Saskatoon and elsewhere in Saskatchewan.)

I had the privilege of playing the brief role—(those who heard my singing, including my wife and daughters, thought my part far too long)–of Pinellino the cobbler. It was partly a fund-raiser and I was one of several celeb walk-ons. Carl was very kind and coached us ever so gently. To the entire cast he said, « Just call me ‘Johnny’ with a « J! » Thus the title of my paraphrase.

Anyway, that was the first and only time I ever sang/acted in an opera and I loved every minute of it. So did the other local celebs–it’s great therapy (maybe not for the audience, poor souls) and it was both fun, and an artistic learning experience of great value working with Carl.

Carl was one of several friends who helped me through my quadruple-bypass surgery in 2000, and as I recall he, though much younger, had already had that surgery and so was most helpful in that regard as well. Unfortunately, Carl took his dog for a walk in the small town of Hepburn one evening in October 2011 and did not return home. His generous heart had ceased its work. He was a fine singer, but more importantly, one of the finest of human beings, loved by his family, community, and all who knew him. This work, Pinellino’s Lament for “Johnny” is my tribute to that good man and testimony to what a good, caring friend he was.

Monte Keene Pishny-Floyd