This short documentary, From Footy to Verdi, challenges stereotypes about theatrical art forms, in particular opera, and their audiences.
Three old-school Chelsea fans in their 50s, two of whom could scarcely imagine a more alien world than classical music, were taken on a journey to discover opera, and their reactions were filmed every step of the way. We first meet Adam, Harry and Rob at the pub over a few beers, chatting about their lives and loves – principally football and the music, culture and fashion surrounding it. The film then follows them to a chorus rehearsal at The Royal Opera House, meeting some of the singers, and culminating in a performance of La traviata there.
Some remarkable things began to happen to even the most resistant of the group quite early in the journey, as the film reveals. It’s a moving documentary that’s as much about life, friendships and ageing as it is about opera. Through this film, Opera Holland Park seeks to open an industry-wide discussion about opera, and to that end the film’s participants were taken to The Royal Opera House, one of the world’s most spectacular opera houses. The film demonstrates that no social qualifications are required for enjoying opera. Indeed, football fans are particularly well-suited to the melodrama of opera, accustomed as they are to their sport being elevated by musical accompaniment on television and in films.