Opera, or cheese?

Or both, even.

I recently felt rather inadequate when reading about an online friend’s Easter holiday trip to the opera. She was taking her granddaughter, who is about seven. And she did so at the girl’s request, who after listening to so much opera at home during the last year or two, she really, really wanted to go to a live performance. And her favoured opera was one I’d never even heard of. The friend suspected it might be a difficult one to find, but not so.

Hence the recent trip to London for some real opera. It was one of these performances you get nowadays, where you get to meet the cast, and the girl’s day was made.

It made me wish I could have done that (although I treated Offspring at a young age to similar things, albeit plays, and not always in London). But of course I didn’t ever consider the opera, because it was, well, the opera. One ballet was enough for a posh night out.

So I tried to analyse how this young girl acquired her taste for opera. It’s because there was so much of it made available at her grandmother’s house, so it became both well known, and also very attractive.

And I realised that this could have happened to me too, had Mother-of-Witch played the right music when I was a child. But she didn’t really go in for music, and if the radio was on, it was more likely to be the more ‘boring’ talk radio programmes. My own listening came around the age of ten when I caught the pop bug.

Mother-of-Witch wasn’t not into culture. Just not opera, or endless sessions of other kinds of music.

But then I found myself going on – and not in a good way – about people who don’t appreciate good cheese. Or god forbid, people who sell cheese but know next to nothing about what is/makes a good cheese. I don’t mind paying for it, if it is good. I would prefer for tastings to be offered more freely at the cheese counter. After all, people think nothing of tasting wine before committing. But it’s as if cheese matters less, or not at all. And you don’t need very much of it.

Yes, you do. I have had to tie myself in knots at parties where a large group of people have been offered a rather small piece of token cheese. Sometimes a very good cheese, which makes the ‘sharing’ that much harder.

I was going to blame the lack of opera at home on a modest background. That is, until I remembered that Mother-of-Witch knew about cheese, and appreciated it. And so did her even more modest-background father before her. It’s clearly the case that whatever you’ve been subjected to over a period of time makes you knowledgeable and appreciative.

The Magic Flute; now that I know a bit of. Ingmar Bergman offered up his own take of it on television one year. That was very good.

Now, if I could only find a nearby – reliable – source of cheese to take me out of my misery.


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