Alison Dunhill

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Only Opera


Only Opera

I wear my emerald green dress that evening. Clouds curl pink above Kenwood House’s Palladian cream. I’d sewn it in a sun-soaked ward of the Royal Free Hospital. It is August and so hot your clothes stick to your skin. Clumps of here and there grass grow through the dry earth and young ducks flap and splash as we eat our picnic. Your friend wears a linen suit and Panama. He’s put on weight and walks like the White Rabbit. We stand for five minutes entranced by Tosca. The soprano flings her arms high, in crescendo, over the light-dotted lake, at the same moment as a goose flies over the sky. She throws her notes to us and we receive them as pure emotion, lying propped on our arms by the line of food kiosks. Now stars, the moon, pierce and scatter the ultramarine sky. We de-crumb the rugs and watch the procession of Bergman figures in the night exit.

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