Anyone observing the resultant struggle to place the spare tickets would think that I was approaching people asking them to look after a leaking container of nuclear waste, rather than inviting them to something potentially enjoyable. Though the worst of it was that several invitees impressed upon me that they would really LOVE to have gone if only I hadn’t given them such insultingly short notice, so I will now feel obliged to spend several hundred pounds I have not got buying additional tickets so that I can repeat the invitation next year. Only to find, no doubt, that “you would not believe it, but we are already booked up for the second weekend in July, even though it is only September.”
I would believe it. Truly I would. I went through a similar experience in 2009.
I finally gave up and made a despairing call to the box office, prefaced with the words “I know I’m wasting my time, but …”
“Oh no,” came the reply, “Don’t worry. We have a long waiting list for tickets. We’ll sell them for you right away.”
And they did. Which was nice.
As English summer nights out go, Madama Butterfly at Nevill Holt was about as perfect an evening as anyone could ever aspire to. It is at least as beautiful a spot as any of the better-known country house opera venues, with its hilltop location making the horse’s head statues that are apparently de rigueur this year look vastly more striking than they do plonked on the lawn at Glyndebourne (see my entry of 5 June for the photographic evidence).