Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

A wandering with The Met

So there I was a wandering along the street with this opera broadcast in my ear  — in an attempt to block out the din of the traffic more than any true operatic appreciation — when I made the astonishing discovery. Football and opera: nothing in between them.

The CBC radio 2 have this rather useful broadcast each weekend Live from the Met in New York. Seemingly it broadcasts to dozens of countries and that’s why it takes so long to hook up. There’s a lengthy preamble, according to the website it’s a man called Howard, but it was a husky voiced woman in my ear. The reason I was so acutely aware of the preamble was because I was desperately awaiting the orchestra to strike up a note. Anything.. the tap of a baton would do, but no instead much speculation about the Italian opera whose name was mentioned 24 times and I have subsequently forgotten, followed by resident experts (a young sounding bloke perhaps) commenting on its origins, its intentions blah blah. Exactly like they do before a football match. You know Johnny’s knee injury set him back last season, watch Jimmy carefully who learned to play in the back alley kicking around an old can except obviously the comments were a bit more sophisticated. “In the second act …. this composer likes a lot of bodies on the stage … he was very influenced by the colour red … his mother forced him to sew curtains endlessly thus this opera really is a hommage to a hem ..”  But it provokes the same frustration. Would you ever get on with it? Blast that trumpet, raise that curtain because I can still hear the darn traffic and I only want some music to get myself across 12 streets and I’ve now crossed ten of them and no one has sung a note and I am refusing to push the button on the player for fear I might crash unexpectedly into some country tune about widows needing cars.

Finally a note did arrive. A note that sounded out of tune but is likely not out of tune it’s my hearing that’s out of tune with opera. I feel like opera is something a mature ear has to confront, so my ears have been signed up for confrontation.

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