There were a lot of women with very high hair. That was good to see. Then there was the guy in a three piece paisley suit. He looked good too. Not quite as good as Prince used to but you get the idea. Then there were the fur coats, the silver topped canes, those ruff things with fox heads on the end of them. A guy with a monocle. Did somebody have an ear-trumpet? I am not sure. Probably. And then there was me.
How I had managed to live through 40 odd years without ever having been to the opera is a mystery but finally there I was leaning nonchalantly against the champagne bar at the Royal Opera House digging into a ¬£5 bowl of crisps.
Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment has a creaky old plot about an abandoned child and soldier and an aunt who is actually a mother and, well you can imagine the rest.Even in 1839 it would have seemed creaky. But it was still a blast.
The cast were having a good time. The audience were enjoying it. There's a part where the lead male hits 9 top Cs in a row. I had read about this amazing feat before I got there and I was probably under a misapprehension about quite what hitting top Cs meant - I was maybe expecting some kind of Freddie Mercury caterwauling - and I didn't really know it was happening until it was over and then the crowd went ABSOLUTELY BONKERS!! Really bananas! Right in the middle of it. It wasn't even the end of the act. It was like when somebody scores an incredible goal completely out of the blue. Except this was way more fun than a football match.
The last time I went to football match it cost over ¬£50 and it was cold and I couldn't really see anything and at half-time I had only just got to the head of the queue for a horrible cup of instant tea before they had kicked off again.The opera was way cheaper, more comfortable, more exciting, you got enough time in the interval to have two drinks, and the crowd were better looking.An altogether more beautiful game.
Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.
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