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Performance notes

What makes an opera fan? It's not social class or even personal taste, but the opportunity to become one of the crowd

By Martin Kettle   August 2009

For me the moment came when I was sitting in the back of the amphitheatre at Covent Garden as a sixth-former, hearing the late, great Birgit Nilsson sing Wagner. To say I was hooked by Nilsson’s commanding, laser-like soprano sound was an understatement. But there was more to that evening than the Nilsson wow factor. After all, I already knew enough about my own emerging taste for Wagner to have badgered my father into getting me a ticket for something I wanted to hear in the flesh. Hearing Nilsson that night, though, felt more than just exciting. It felt like…

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