Knickers in Philadelphia were missing. AWOL. Not a shred. Potential disaster. In Sergei Prokofiev’s 1918 opera, The Love for Three Oranges, knickers are essential, the fulcrum against which the lever of the plot is applied. No knickers, no reason for the hypochondriac Prince to laugh. So, no reason for him to be cursed by the witch, Fata Morgana, for laughing. No curse, no falling in love with three oranges (that’s the curse). No plot, no opera. May as well head back to Manhattan.
Here’s the point of the knickers. The King of Clubs has a hypochondriac son, The Prince, who can be cured of the glooms, only if made to laugh. Charged with the task of making him laugh is the jester, Truffaldino, who is… well, failing would be too kind a word.