So I’m on annual leave at the minute, which was supposed to mean I became a full time writer for two weeks but actually it’s only meant I’ve spent time with friends I never normally see and had a few mini existential crises thrown in between.
On Friday I managed to be meeting friends, having a mini existential crisis AND doing some writing, which is why I ended up at the Opera. Obviously.
Rewind. OK, so I wasn’t full on sitting in red velvet seats or wearing a sparkly dress while looking at people singing on a stage far away through those little binoculars — I’ll tell you what happened.
I was in a cool little gift shop next to the Malt Cross in Nottingham — in fact it’s attached to Malt Cross through a not-so-secret door which I was about to step through to contemplate one of their yummy-looking cakes — when a booming voice in the bar announced that somebody or other was about to stage a half hour performance.
My semi-conscious gut reaction went: ‘Aaaargh! New experiences! Loud people! Code Red, abort mission!’ but my logical brain said – ‘Don’t be silly, we can probably have cake and listen to the performance for a bit, then sneak off.’
Now if you’re not from Nottingham, you’re probably Googling Malt Cross and finding somewhere which is basically a pub BUT it is a pub that used to be a music hall, so it does kinda make sense.
Anyway, logical Beccy dragged herself through the door and pondered the cakes before irrational Beccy turned away and made for the exit (loud people, new experiences, cake makes you fat – before being pounced on by a professional looking lady dressed in black.
Smiley lady: Would you like to see a half hour performance? It’s free.
Me: Oh, um, I’m meeting someone at 4…
Smiley lady checks her phone
Smiley lady: It’s 3.11, you’ve got time! Go on!
Smiley lady pulls out a chair fairly near the back.
And the performance began. I hadn’t heard who the performance was actually by so I was a bit surprised when people started full-on warbling. (There was an accordion too. Props to the accordion) It was in English – I guess they knew it had to be something accessible if they were going to interrupt people’s afternoon pints – and it was funny too, the storytelling felt totally natural, not just like a bunch of people singing at you and they really made use of the fact that they were up close and personal with their audience in a way that you wouldn’t normally be at an Opera. It was a love story about a charlatan doctor who sells an elixir of love (which is really just wine) to a lovesick bloke who wants to win the heart of a beautiful girl. Only the elixir ends up working, sort of.
Anyway, these guys were obviously pros and Smiley Lady had sat next to me, so I sneaked a glance at her clipboard — and it was only flipping Opera North! Proper Opera singers in Nottingham, and it happened to be when I was there, how cool is that?
Anyway, after the performance I signed up to a mailing list which apparently gives me £10 Opera tickets and discounts on cocktails when Opera North come to Nottingham (It’s for under 30s only. Sorry.) Of course, it’ll probably just be one more email to delete every month and I’ll never actually go, but for now I’m enjoying feeling slightly cultured. Take that, illogical Beccy.