Town mouse on attending the Opera

One of the joys of going to the Royal Opera these days is the interval. You walk into the Paul Hamlyn Hall to find, if you have had the foresight to make the necessary arrangements, a table spread with the comestibles of your choice.

I admit there is something of the Wise Virgin about it as others are reduced to balancing plates of sandwiches on awkward corners, the seated diner radiates smugness at having thought ahead. We were there for Così Fan Tutte, which Jonathan Miller has placed in the context of modern city life, with a witty paraphernalia of mobile phones and fashion magazines.

Sally Matthews as Fiordiligi was transfixing as a highly believable stressed-out urban babe, and produced an amazing volume of sound from her slight frame. But it was ungenerous to schedule only one interval rather than two. Much of the audience will have spent a day at work before going. They deserve more consideration.

Actually, that may not have been the only problem. The fact is, I don’t like Così. As one of my sons is studying it at school, I thought I’d give it another go, but I found it as unsatisfactory as ever: cynical to the point of being inhuman. Lovely music and all that, but, next time, I’ll stay in the bar.