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News

09 Feb 2005

As If You Were There

When the newly refurbished Royal Opera House reopened in December 1999, the great and the good found themselves trapped in their seats for a great slab of unstaged Wagner in German, with no introduction and no escape. Tony Blair, who was seated just in front of me, was clearly finding it hard-going; but to get out, he would have had to clamber over most of the royal family who, given the chance, might have beaten him to the exit. The Wagner, all agreed, was an unfortunate choice.

Are you ready to CoCo?

Michael Berkeley [The Guardian, 9 Feb 05]

When the newly refurbished Royal Opera House reopened in December 1999, the great and the good found themselves trapped in their seats for a great slab of unstaged Wagner in German, with no introduction and no escape. Tony Blair, who was seated just in front of me, was clearly finding it hard-going; but to get out, he would have had to clamber over most of the royal family who, given the chance, might have beaten him to the exit. The Wagner, all agreed, was an unfortunate choice.

In an effort to break the ice, I leaned over and pointed out the Wagner tubas to the PM. "He was a bit of a megalomaniac," I said, "and invented his own rules and instruments." Blair immediately perked up - there was a glint of recognition in his eye and he was clearly grateful for the helping hand.

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