To watch opera in Monte Carlo is to enter a different world. Two nights before Puccini’s Manon Lescaut by the Med, Paris’ Opéra Bastille had hosted an audience of 2,700 for Massenet’s Cendrillon. One week later, New York’s Met was to pack in 3,700 for a stunning Turandot. Opera on a scale we have grown to expect.
Now, I was in Prince Albert’s Salle Garnier, seating 524. This would be opera close-up and personal. Back to Baroque court theatre intimacy. A totally different experience.
It was certainly different getting there. Monaco has capitalised on the humungous investment needed each year to transform its twisty streets into the world’s most famous safety barrier defended F1 Grand Prix circuit, so now hosts two get-the-max-out-of-the-Armco preliminary weekends of racing. It used to be only one, for historic cars.