Now, one of my very favourite guilty pleasures is Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge. Last time I saw it was during a movie night at The Didsbury Lounge, but I really prefer to watch it on my own at home so that I may sing along loudly to my heart's content, with my vocal performance audibly increasing in nuanced skill and range the further down the bottle of wine I get.
I do understand that this is wrong, however, and am delighted to be able to redeem myself in a week or so by going to see an altogether more highbrow Parisian romance. Yep, the wonderful Opera North are back in town, this time bringing one of my all-time favourite operas: Puccini's La Bohème, which tells the story of the penniless Rodolfo and his beautiful but equally broke neighbour Mimi set against the backdrop of the Latin Quarter. This is a pretty romantic story anyway, but I have yet to see an Opera North performance that is anything less than brilliant, witty and sexy so I have high hopes with this one (particularly when I see the photos of this beautiful cast). The sets and staging are always inventive and performances uniformly excellent, and with acclaimed director Phyllida Lloyd at the helm it's hard to imagine this will be any different.
I have taken a succession of opera virgins along to Opera North's previous productions, and every single one of them has emerged a convert to this most moving of genres - if you think opera is stuffy and inaccessible and elitist then I can't recommend Opera North highly enough to change this perception. And, as a knowledgeable opera goer, I'm not ashamed to throw in a bit of technical parlance and suggest that La Bohème would be an excellent starter opera because it's full of right lovely singing and has some tunes you will recognise. Opera North's La Bohème will be at The Lowry Theatre between 14th and 17th May with tickets from £27 (although the tissues you'll need will cost you extra).