OPERA: The opera novice

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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