The Phantom of the Opera

We called into the bar after shopping for a coffee. Our lovely landlord came over eagerly to tell us that we must come tonight as there would be opera. He told us a woman had come in the bar the night before having worked in England and had agreed to sing.

Opera is not my thing really. When you have an opera singing brother who has disturbed your studies with his rehearsing at home, it sort of puts you off a bit. Having said that I have visited Glyndebourne and other opera houses a few times and had good nights. So long as there is a good story and I research it in advance to deal with any language barriers, I can enjoy opera. Of course, as a child and teenager, I always enjoyed seeing my brother as different characters too. He makes a great villain! I once translated Carmen into English for him before he learned French. Anyway I digress!

We agreed to return but left it till lateish which here is about eight o’clock as we know things often happen later rather than sooner in French bars. We were still too early and there was no singing. We waited patiently getting excited every time a female walked into the bar which is not often really and then mainly just to use the tabac.

Princess came in with her boyfriend and a new woman. As the landlord had not mentioned any connection with Princess we did not suss it at first. We did start to wonder when it became clear the new woman was able to speak perfect English. They sat at the bar and no songs came.

Much later my husband went to the loo and whilst he was off the new woman launched into a full operatic aria whilst remaining on her stool at the bar. There is such respect for the arts here and nearly everyone in the bar sat quietly and nodded in approval. I don’t know why but the whole scene just struck me as incredibly funny and I started to giggle. You know those sort of giggles where you know you should stop which makes it even harder to do so. My husband returned from the loo and was so disapproving of my antics.

Madame behind the bar shot me a look half amused and half telling me to pull myself together so I pulled my hand across my mouth signifying that she was right and stopped giggling. But then I could not help a sneaky glance at AyUp lad who was sitting on a stool behind Opera Ophelia. He put on such a fake respectful face that set off my giggles again.

I enjoyed it more when Ophelia started singing more musical type stuff. Because I felt a bit naughty I went over to chat to her when she stopped singing and told her all about my brother. She was fascinated and it turned out she had an English father and a French mother and let’s just say her Dad shared similar backgrounds to both me and my husband in different ways so it was easy to bond quickly. And of course sometimes it is nice to talk freely in English too.

At this point someone suggested we should carry on to the Crazy Bar which always means things will just get wilder. Off we trooped where I decided to explain to AyUp lad that my brother was an opera singer. He clearly thought it was yet another of my wind ups and eventually said “Shut Up!” in Towie fashion. I was now market merry and screeched “Where is Opera Woman?”. Ophelia came over and pulled up my brother’s details on Google. At which point AyUp lad as so embarrassed and kept apologising to me over and over. He had no need to be sorry at all of course especially as during the conversation I had also said we had an uncle called Freddie Mercury in the family.

I could not wait to get home to email my brother about our new operatic connection but he has yet to respond in the Phantom of the Opera type fashion.


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