OPERA: The opera novice

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Wagner's Parsifal performed by English National Opera. Iain Paterson is Amfortas (in the grey) and Andrew Greenan Titurel

Until last year Sameer Rahim had little interest in classical music – but now he is hooked on opera. In a new column he offers a novice-eye's view of this seemingly forbidding but truly magical art form.

I grew up in a household where not a note of classical music was played. I must have heard some at school, but all I remember of music classes was mucking around on a synthesiser playing the Batman theme tune. As a teenager watching telly, I recall humming along to The Ride of the Valkyries from Apocalypse Now and Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma at the 1990 World Cup – but I couldn’t have told you who wrote them, or even that they were pieces taken from opera.

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