From when I was very young, I was immersed in the arts. My mum took me to ballet and opera. I thought it was a normal part of childhood. It wasn’t until I was older and worked for an opera house that I realised what was second nature to me was still quite alien to a lot of people.

I once went to the opera in a leather jacket, Bretton top, denim mini skirt and ballet pumps. One of my colleagues said, “You going dressed like that?” Yes, I’m going dressed like that. And? Okay, to be fair it was press night at work and I got a free pass but it was always as normal as going to the cinema. People see the arts as elitest, high brow and not for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Immerse your kids now and they will be in love the rest of their lives.

Opera, especially, when you think about it, is just like soap opera. The stories are about love, fantasy, betrayal, intrigue. Just like Shakespeare, the stories were and still are meant for everyday audiences as everyday entertainment.

I can’t express how much being surrounded by art, music and dance makes a difference to your life, your soul and your happiness. It doesn’t have to be kids ballets – take them out with you in the evening, why not? They will be introduced to such riches and will remember it always.

(Photos courtesy of Miguel Salgado, Matoshinos, Portugal)

PS. Make believe


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