My daughter Clemmie is suddenly very grown up. Mrs Grumpy teenager has gone and she is now a responsible young adult who is about to start pupilage as a trainee barrister. Only a short while ago she thought classical music was for losers, but now with an older boyfriend, they go to the opera, eat gourmet dinners at Heston Blumenthal and act in a thoroughly sensible way. (I hope not too sensible) It was Clemmie and Ben who took us to the opera in Verona, and to dinner in a tiny and magical restaurant lit with a hundred candles in a side street near the Cathedral. Verona, from my new experience is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For me it is the intoxicating mix of renaissance architecture, and buildings with a definite Venetian influence that give Verona its magical quality.
The opera takes place in the enormous Roman Arena where only last year elephants and horses paraded on the stage. (This year the set designer for Aida had obviously been to ‘War Horse’ because the alligators and the horses were mechanical!)
As you listen to the poignant arias, and watch the cast of hundreds marching through the aisles with their flares, it really makes you think of the Roman gladiators who once fought to the death in this very same arena. It was a powerful and heady experience made all the more precious with my grown up daughter sitting beside me. Thank you Clemmie and Ben.
We are only half way through the summer and possibly there will be more firsts. I will tell you when I know.