As someone who loves the arts, I know there's a gap in my experience - I've never been to the opera. But that's soon going to change because I'm being taken to see Puccini's La Boheme performed by English National Opera as a lovely treat.
To be honest, I'm not really sure why it has taken me so long to see an opera. One of the people who was most influential in my life adored opera - she was the woman who trained me in Wicca and witchcraft. Her name was Maureen Brown and she taught me that magic comes from the heart as much as the mind - she also used to say that opera was the most magical music she knew and would often have opera playing on her stereo when I came round to her house for training evenings.
Although Maureen's favourite aria was Nessun Dorma, from Puccini's Turandot, she also loved La Boheme, which is one of Puccini's most famous operas. I'm really pleased that it is currently on in London and being performed in English.
The ENO website describes it as "one of opera’s greatest love stories". It has been set in 1930s Left Bank Paris - a wonderful meeting place for artists and intellectuals and a melting pot for ideas and creativity, but also the perfect location for a passionate but tragic tale of love.
I think one of the things that put me off going to an opera was my fear that it would be in a language I couldn't understand - although another factor was that I thought tickets might be overly expensive. It's been pointed out to me, however, that the English National Opera puts on English language performances that are designed to be affordable and accessible to everyone. Apparently all ENO performances are sung in English.
The home of English National Opera is the London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4ES. The box office number is 020 7845 9300 and the website is http://www.eno.org/. You can find out more about the current performance of La Boheme, which is running until December 6, here: http://www.eno.org/boheme
The YouTube link at the top shows the trailer from ENO's La Boheme