Instantly acquire all the knowledge you need to pass as an expert in the world of opera. Know what to say, where to say it, what not to say, where to be seen, and even what to wear. Never again confuse a castrato with a contralto, a prima donna with sopratitoli, or O Sole Mio with an ice cream advert. Bask in the admiration of your fellow opera lovers as you pronounce confidently on the merits of Donizetti’s bel canto over Wagner’s leitmotiv, and hold your own against the most sneering of opera buffs.
Written by experts and offering readers the opportunity to pass off appropriated knowledge as their own, the Bluffer’s Guides provide hard fact masquerading as frivolous observation in one witty, easy read.
“The opera craze swept Venice like a plague, though with somewhat happier results. ”
“‘If you can’t sit quietly through 90 minutes in a theatre without noisily slurping on a bottle of water, consider returning to your mother and asking to be properly weaned.’”
“‘You may show your appreciation by applauding and uttering a few words in Italian – not including ‘Mamma mia’ and ‘spaghetti alle vongole’.”
Over the last 40 years Keith Hann has watched the curtain rise on more than 1,000 operatic performances, and waited until it fell on 997 of them.
In order to fund this addiction, he has been variously employed as an unsuccessful stockbroker and an incompetent but occasionally entertaining public relations consultant.
Decades of skilful bluffing brought him to the brink of retirement without any lasting romantic entanglements, until a momentary lapse of concentration one evening at Covent Garden led to his marriage at the age of 54, and the subsequent arrival of two children.