I don’t want you to think we do nothing except go and watch resurrected rock stars and take bookings for our Abruzzo holiday villas. 

Casalbordino dressed for the OperaFar from it.

We’ve been to the opera too.

Not exactly the opera, or even an opera. More like bits of operas. Those greatest hits that you can never put a name to – and don’t even realise you know – but which you can hum along to as soon as you’ve heard the first couple of bars.

Once a year, the town of Casalbordino – about an hour to the south of us – stages a full bells and whistles evening of opera, with a full orchestra, a choir and a palette of talented singers.

And on this occasion, not a fat lady in sight. 

Casalbordino’s a pretty town and was dressed to the nines for the evening. A huge stage was set up at one end of the Piazza Umberto I right in the town centre, with the beautifully-lit church of Santo Salvatore providing a perfect backdrop.

This being Italy, it was hardly a surprise to see the names of Verdi, Puccini and Rossini writ large and the rest not exactly writ small, but more like left out altogether to make room for Donizetti and Leoncavallo.

This parade of national heroes was broken only by one grudging nod in the direction of Bizet and another to Orff. No Mozart ? No Mozart. Boo !

Mezzosoprano Chiara Chialli in dazzling formThe talent was impressive, with the unfortunate exception of the Bass, who had what can most kindly be described as a bad day at the office. Happens to us all. But rarely as publicly.

Happily, tenor Giuliano di Filippo and mezzosoprano Chiara Chialli were both in thrilling voice and while their talents kept ears and eyes busy, touch enjoyed the feel of the chilled bottle of sparkling Pecorino; and taste and smell were more than happy with the delicious nibbles we’d brought along.

All five senses contentedly occupied. Can’t often claim that.

So I’ve inched forward towards a full-blown, full-on opera experience. Preferably at that fantastic open-air arena in Verona.

In the meantime, Casolbordino opera on a summer evening – even with a dodgy Bass – is a pretty good alternative.