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Opera-goers have a problem with food: the great dilemma is whether to eat before the performance (and risk falling asleep immediately after the overture), or to wait until after the opera is over (and risk a rumbling stomach during the whole of the final act). A compromise of sorts is achieved in those operatic evenings which start early and include a dinner break in the middle. But this facility is usually only accorded to the longer Wagner operas and to a very small number of other operas which have been, rightly or wrongly, considered too long for an audience to digest in a single sitting (like Berlioz’s Les Troyens, for example).
Home-based opera fans can of course get around the whole problem by eating throughout the opera, since CDs, videos, DVDs and television broadcasts can turn the living room or the dining room into a personalised theatre.
Many operas include mentions of food, and the OperaStory site contains a section called The Opera Kitchen devoted to these operatic meals or ingredients. Some will be lavish full-blown affairs, others fairly homespun and simple, sometimes maybe just a single herb. Some of them will offer recipes, and may well give readers an idea for the perfect meal to serve at home before, during, or after a performance of an opera. You could even put together a meal representing a number of different operas.
Opera Kitchen articles are numbered, but there is no logical sequence: the numbers are just to help you keep track of what you have read and what you haven’t.