The opera novice

Originally published January 2012

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.

To me the word “opera” conjured up fanciful images: large women singing shrilly on stage, men in bow ties and tail coats, people using more ......

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