I never go to the opera. I can admit this now. Seeing as I’m on a desert island I can actually say that I never go to the opera. I go there and I feel very uncomfy. I just feel like it’s not my world.

The singer, who has appeared with English National Opera, also describes how he used to take a pillow so he could sleep through performances he was told to watch as part of his training at the Royal Opera House.

In a further explanation of why he performs but never watches the genre, he says: “When I’m up there doing it that’s my world, that’s what I really enjoy, but sitting in the audience and watching it I’m bored stiff; I have to say I really am. I can sit at home and listen to it on record and really appreciate the classic singers, but when I go there it’s just not my world.

The quote is by Alfie Boe. I performed with him when we did bohème, and at the time he was Alf Boe. I hadn’t a clue he felt that way about opera, but then I rarely talked to him. I just remember him being a pretty nice guy, and I remember his frustration in the studio when his voice wasn’t behaving (he had to return later to redo his portion of the recording). Who knew he hated opera, eh?

Yeah, I’m just a tad disappointed. But oh well. Not everyone likes his or her job, right? Some even dislike the job yet still do good work. I think. So why should an opera singer have to like his? I guess.


  1. Most singers I know, I’d say 99%, really don’t like to go to operas. I know, it’s surprising, but it makes sense if you think about it. From their perspective, it’s totally fun to be a part of this genre where it’s a gigantic collaborative machine which never quite achieves perfection, plus everyone is looking at you and listening to you and cueing you and critiquing you while this machine is turning. If you’re in the audience, all you can really do is watch/listen and hear the mistakes, which isn’t fun if you can’t do anything about it, and nap, which is the more attractive alternative. He was smart to bring along a pillow!


  2. Gee, I can’t imagine not liking opera … or symphony … (ballet is another story, but it’s the first thing I’ll quit!). I’m thrilled to attend concerts and just bask in the wonder of the art. I’ll have to ask the singers around here! Or maybe I’ll ask the “biggies” who blog. (But would they admit it if they didn’t like it? I wonder.)

  3. What?? Quit ballet? And miss playing Nutcracker at Christmas?

  4. I DO have my “order of retirement”, Bob. I’m sure you would be incredibly surprised to know that ballet will be the first to go! 🙂