The Guardian

Opera isn’t elitist. If I can learn to love it so can anybody | Chris Addison

Only a handful of people can sing in this visceral, thrilling way – but the feelings they evoke are universal
Michael Volle as Jokanaan and Malin Byström as Salome in Richard Strauss’s Salome, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Photograph: Clive Barda

The best thing I’ve ever seen, in all my long and misspent years hanging around comedy gigs, wasn’t standup. It was opera. Back in the late 90s, I was standing at the bar in one of the spit-and-stale-beer clubs where I cut my teeth, watching the MC corral the usual drunken Friday-night punters. He lighted on a woman in her early 20s at a table down the front and asked “What do you do?” “I’m an opera student,” she replied to or an ad we couldn’t quite place.

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