Wednesday, 9 January 2008

You don't have to mad to do Grimes, but it helps

This is about the time of year when Opera Gold starts to invade my daily conversation. There I am talking to someone at the checkout or the water cooler or the bar, and bits of Peter Grimes come out.

For example, I was in a tapas bar the other night. (Meson Don Felipe on the Cut, in fact - great atmosphere, but the food at Mar in Terra round the corner is better, we reckon.) Anyway, we'd troughed our main courses and glugged the wine, and the waitress came round.

"Would you like to see the dessert menu?", she said.

Out came this bit of Grimes in the Prologue as my instinctive reply:

And whenever I'm in a train that's spent ten minutes waiting in the middle of nowhere and then suddenly gets going again, I find myself doing a quick bit of Mrs Sedley:

And goodness knows what the Aussie barmaid at the White Bear round the corner thinks when I go in to order a beer and do an unconscious Balstrode quote instead:

At least all these involuntary outbursts are in English. For the last two years the checkout girls in Lidl have been listening to me gabbling in Bizet-era French and Mozart-period German. But then as nobody in Lidl has English as a first language it didn't seem all that strange.

There is, of course, a slight problem with all this: none of the bits are actually my part. This is what always happens. That mental CD of the opera keeps playing on shuffle through my head, but it's always Grimes or Balstrode or Mrs Sedley and never me.

See you at the first staging rehearsal tomorrow...

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