I don’t know why, but when anybody mentions “opera” I picture the two none-too-quick Indian teenage lads from Goodness Gracious Me who are waiting patiently at the theatre for the arrival of the US television host Oprah Winfrey only to discover, to their absolute horror, that they had misheard and had actually arrived at an opera.
Real opera, of course, as opposed to Oprah, would be associated by most people and for the most part with Italy. Whilst only one of the legendary three tenors was Italian, the unequalled though sadly late Luciano Pavarotti, the form originated in Italy in around 1600 and Italian opera continues to dominate the genre to the present day. The names Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti are amongst the most recognisable of any there are and their works continue to be performed today.
Many non-Italian composers, including Handel, Mozart and Gluck, have written operas in Italian. Some others, most noticeably certain French composers, did attempt at around the same time to take opera away from its solely Italian roots, but were ultimately not successful and Italy continues to lead the way in the field.
Of course, the reason the Italians sing so much could be down to the fact that they are happy with their food. The pioneers of pasta and pizza have long made music with their oils, herbs and spices. A simple tomato, or a humble block of cheese, sometimes becomes a melody in the hands of the right cook.
At the Eco Restaurant Clapham High Street the pizzas and other foods, and fine wines, are much to sing about. With a nutritious healthy base covered always with a delicious, healthy topping Eco is the ideal venue for a relaxing and enjoyable night out.
We could, in fact, compose an opera about it.