Clos Maggiore

Mr Jones and I went to see La traviata the other night at the Royal Opera House.  The stage set was exactly the same as when we saw it last year, which perturbed me a little because I like to think that the huge fairytale fantasy worlds which we see at the opera are constructed freshly for each one. The soprano singing Violetta was very competent, but couldn’t compare to Renee Fleming who was playing this role last time we saw it – so few people can. But as always the opera left me enchanted. I love how Traviata has all these big pop hooks – in every act there’s a tune that you end up singing to yourself later, even if the glorious and agonised swell of  ‘Amami, Alfredo‘ doesn’t stay in your ears and heart for weeks afterwards.

Although you know – once, just once, I would like to see an opera where there’s a man with a dissolute past who falls in love with a powerful woman, but then she leaves him and he dies of heartbreak/TB/hara-kiri before she returns having seen the error of her ways. Also I would like to see an opera or, let’s face it, any story ever in which a lady has a dissolute past and then goes on to enjoy her life, spending her hard-earned money and dying peacefully at an advanced age, surrounded by admirers.

So the music was lovely, although the audience were rather ill-behaved. Not one but two mobile phones went off and there was an outbreak of unbearably loud coughing. Here’s a tip, Traviata audiences: the only person who is supposed to be coughing in here is the lady who’s dying of consumption on stage. Got it? Thanks.

Afterwards, Mr Jones and I pondered where to go for a brief bite to eat. ‘Oh well’, he said with that insouciance that I like so much about him, ‘we could go to Clos Maggiore if you like’. I nodded like a little nanny-goat. I didn’t know what Clos Maggiore was.

Well, friends, it’s a jewel. It’s dark and French and cosy, all made of stained wood, tasteful red leather banquettes, coloured glass and brass. It has a pig with wings on the counter at the front. About fourteen people say good evening to you as you walk in, and they smile while they’re doing so. And then at the back…well, look upon this grainy camera-phone photo and try not to sigh. (more…)

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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