Making a new friend at the Opera Awards 2019

I didn’t stay for all of the Opera Awards at Sadlers Wells tonight.

The cold I caught from my ageing mother before Easter has turned into what feels like a lingering chest infection. That always freaks me out. I want a cold to be over. And for that reason I needed to be sensible. I need to rest because next week is a bit full on for me. Anyway, it’s on the radio in a week’s time and judging by the many cameras dotted around the place, I imagine I’ll be able to watch somewhere too. I said as much to the PR people who invited me (everything except the radio and video bI t), as I was putting down my finished glass of wine.

But what I did see of the awards and what I experienced was enough for me to write what follows. Authoritatively.

Opera people bring an entirely different energy to proceedings. There’s schuzz, swish and perfume to give things a bit of a lift. The smell of the brochure adds to the heady mix. There’s a sense of occasion. The theatrical lighting – even at awards – gives things an edge and gets everyone on their toes.

And I find that – a comparative operatic outsider – rather welcoming. Opera is an undiscovered land, full of wonder and brimming with unanswered questions. Another room in a big rambling house I haven’t really spent any significant time in yet.

But I also saw power articulated in ritualistic introductions, deference and weak handshakes. Not amongst those who create the core product – the opera – but those who create content about it. I am one of those people – a content producer – but it was amongst others like me I felt most at sea.

That’s a personal reflection – a statement of my own insecurities I suppose, something I have no problem sharing publically. Why not share?

In a split second I saw what it all is, and what I’m not. What I’ll never be. And I’m OK with that too.

Because my eye’s on something and people and things that are far far more captivating: opera.

I think I’ve discovered a new pal.

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