The small, white West Highland Terrier, ears pricked, tail erect, black-button eyes far gone in drink, paused his grunting frottage of the sofa to peer at the television. The Master was watching opera. Bugger. Dogs in opera are few and far between.

The Master had just finished listening to an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, The Couple, with his electronic Alexa thingy (does not respond to barks) which featured a feisty, balding poodle, Twine, obviously a dog of serious mettle, who harassed a butler’s trouser leg and altogether upstaged the rheumy humans in the plot. That was more like it.

In lockdown, The Master had now turned to free broadcasts from the Met – closed physically for the foreseeable. Ah! This was La Bohème. Some hope there. Muckle, the name by which the West Highland went in human society, had once seen a production in which Museta had kept a spaniel. Maybe?  (This, and a nightly stream of Wagner’s Ring from the Met are available here:

No such luck. Muckle reflected on a Tilda Swinton video he had seen in which her spaniels are directed in a Handel Aria, Rompo I Lacci, from Flavio That was more like it.

Perhaps other providers of free Corona content would be more dog positive. He resolved to encourage The Master to check out other houses. The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden is planning live streaming and updates are available here.

There is a Mozart festival running on OperaVision, plus a library of 21 performances across European houses – and Beijing. Beijing is mounting a version of Carmen in which the Toreador character dispatches a bat in Wuhan market and the Coronavirus never happens. Muckle wished!

Medici TV boasts a catalogue of 209 operas. Vienna Staatsoper is providing daily streaming events and hopes to reopen on April 13th, probably optimistic.

Muckle, whose outlook on his dog’s world was Panglossian, retreated behind the sofa, awaiting a rerun of the Tilda Swinton video. Bohème was over. What was this? Rossini’s Duetto buffo di due gatti.