EPISODE 24: Late nights and Handel operas

EMMA is passionate about Handel, especially the operas. She’s sung in several Messiahs and we make – well, I make, on her behalf – an annual donation to the Foundling Museum. The Museum commemorates the Foundling Hospital, where annual performances of the Messiah, sometimes conducted by Handel himself, raised funds for the abandoned children in the Hospital’s care.

So it seemed obvious to request four tickets for Handel’s Rinaldo through Corporate Sponsorship. Even without knowing who we’d invite to join us. Emma hadn’t seen the opera in years. Of course, I had to face the obvious “What, an opera about Ronaldo?” jokes from graceless colleagues but then I’m an Arsenal fan and quite inured to bad football jokes.

In the event, Emma’s difficult pregnancy has made her attendance impossible and so I’m in the auditorium, in black tie, with Juliette on one side – no-one else was available at short notice and I’m keeping her attendance strictly below the radar at home – and with the CEO of the British subsidiary of our new high profile client and his distinctly frosty Canadian wife on the other.

The opera is eleventh century Crusaders and I’ve done my homework but the setting seems to be High School Pantomime. I’m confused, hot and very tired. We’ve had dinner – yes and a drink or two – and are now into the home straight. Love, war and redemption, with Jerusalem falling to the Crusaders and the Saracen warlord, Argante, embracing Christianity.

Juliette nudges me in the ribs. I’m nodding off. Can’t show such weakness to new clients. Oh but I could weep. It’ll be another 2 1/2 hours before I’m home, even if chauffeur-deposited. And only another five hours after that before I’m up once more, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

To be continued next Tuesday. For past City Dad episodes, see cityam.com