Things to do with a Classics degree: No. 3579

I’ve just got back from Bristol where my friend and I attended a fine performance of La Boheme at The Hippodrome. (Excuse me a moment while I wring out my handkerchief which got soaked during the last act deathbed drama.)

It was by the Chisinau National Opera, and the production was directed by Ellen Kent, who has been bringing international operatic companies to Great Britain for the past 10 years or so.

The set, which is apparently the same for all the operas in their repertoire this season, is a kind of section of a Roman amphitheatre, surmounted by excellent classical statues.

The programme tells us that Ellen Kent went for the Roman setting because she is a Classics graduate of Durham University.

So when parents ask at parents’ evenings ‘What can my daughter do with her Classics?’ you have yet another answer. Be a highly successful operatic director.

By the way, the juxtaposition of ‘Kent’ and ‘Opera’ brings back to mind the late lamented and excellent Kent Opera, murdered by the Arts Council (if I remember right). I vividly remember a performance of Monteverdi’s Orfeo in the Bath Theatre Royal, oh, 30 or more years ago, stunning in its scenery, its acting (which took a lot from Noh drama), the orchestration and the singing.

(What has this got to do with Classics? do I hear you cry? Well, who can be more classical that Orpheus?)

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