Longborough Opera Festival
Longborough – a childhood
Fifty years ago a commonplace scene in Longborough was a tall gangling man in plus-fours followed by a cadaverous dog, and making up the rear of this strange procession a small boy. The man alternately shouted and sang at the same time punching the air with one arm or making flowing movements with the other. He was called Jack Wilsher, the dog was an ancient greyhound and the boy was me. The curious spectacle took place each morning in Longborough when Jack took his constitutional walk.
As is frequently the case with childless adults Jack had a natural and simple rapport with children and instantly a great friendship grew between us. Jack knew all about music and sang and conducted it endlessly in the street.
A typical morning would begin with a song, “That was the hurdy gurdy song Maa-hin,” he would announce. This was received in silence. “Scho-o-o bert was a wonderful man you know, almost as great as Mozart.” More silence from me: more interestingly the dog yelped and chased an old lady’s cat, “Mozart was the greatest composer ever lived.”
“Mr Wilsher your dog’s got me cat up the apple tree, what you gonna do about it?” screeched an old crone. Ignoring this Jack continued, “Mind you some say Wagner was a great composer but let me tell you he was a bloody poltroon. He was almost as bad as the man who invented the internal combustion engine.” Jack hated cars as well as Wagner! “What about me cat Mr Wilsher?” Jack turned to the cottage in the doorway of which stood the old crone, arms akimbo unmoved by his musical analysis, “Didn’t you know Mozart liked cats?” followed by “It’ll be alright” then turning to me earnestly, “remember Mozart’s the greatest and Wagner’s ‘orrible: why ‘ee takes nearly ‘alf an hour with ‘is overtures!”
I tried to appear interested: until that morning I had never heard of either composer. “One of these days Ma-hin, you’ll come to me and say you’ve just heard Figaro and you can’t stop listening to it, it’ll be like a love-affair,” he said, rolling his eyes langourously, “and then you’ll tell me you’ve tried Wagner and you feel like killing yourself”.
Longborough är en by i Glouchestershire England. Här anordnas årligen en operafestival i en ombyggd lada. Festivalen är speciellt inriktad på Richard Wagners verk.
Festivalen anordnas 2015 mellan 12 juni-24 juli