A NIGHT AT THE OPERA FOR LEGAL SOPRANOS

BETRAYAL, revenge and murder – it was business as usual when the Magic Circle decamped to the dress circle at Sadler’s Wells to watch Allen & Overy’s modern-day reworking of Carmen set in Seville Airport.

The opera, which follows last year’s staging of The Magic Flute at Glyndebourne, involved 74 of the firm’s staff past and present. Ex-senior partner Guy Beringer played El Dancairo, while Carine Chassol, a banking partner in the Paris office, played Michaela and corporate partner Don McGown was the “jaded bullfighter” Escamillo.

Trainee lawyers David McDonald and Edward Rance also helped make the performance “a triumph that other City firms can only dream of”, as one client emailed the next day, while another described the opera as “complete, well-rounded and, frankly, magnificent”.

With reviews like that, it is fair to say no-one minded that trainee Matt Farringdon was unable to complete his star turn as Don José due to laryngitis, so he mimed Act Four as substitute Ed Lee sang his part from the wings. Nor did anyone notice that one of the dancers had been rushed back from hospital moments before the start of show. No plans for a transfer to the West End though – “at least not in the short-term”, said a still-hoarse McGown, who doubles as head of the law firm’s music programme.

SOCIAL NETWORK
FIRST THE City’s forex brokers had voice trades; then electronic trading came along and “put a mute button on the conversation”.

So prepare yourself for the third act in the City’s dealing communications says Stefan Basiuk, the co-founder of LetsTalkFX.com – social FX, or bringing the “world’s most incestuous market” closer together through a private social network.

“Electronic trading took away the personal relationships in the City,” said Basiuk, sitting in the Royal Exchange where he once worked pre-Big Bang as a local options trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. “The new generation of 20-somethings coming into the City have been using social media forever, so what tools will they want to use?”

Basiuk and his founding partners – who include JP Morgan Chase Private Bank’s EMEA chief technology officer Paul Ronan – have so far staked £200k that the answer is LetsTalkFX, which connects the players in the $4 trillion global FX community. “There is nothing like us,” said Basiuk, as he lines up further funding talks with five tech investors.

NOT IN THE GOOD BOOK
THESE are testing times in committee room 15, where members of the Commons Public Accounts Committee are trying to get to the bottom of tax deals negotiated by HMRC with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs.

Testing for committee chair Margaret Hodge, certainly. She grew so frustrated yesterday with the lack of forthcoming answers from HM Revenue’s top lawyer Anthony Inglese, she threw the book at him, so to speak. She called for a Bible and made Inglese take the oath.

Testing too for Inglese, who after an hour more of “no comments” was asked by Hodge how much taxpayer money had been spent on his coaching. “None,” he replied. “I hope it did not show.”

POPPY APPEAL
THE FINAL tally is in, and The Royal British Legion has confirmed that Londoners raised almost £450,000 on London Poppy Day, a new Poppy Appeal record for a collection in a single day.

Perhaps it was the six bands who played around the capital last Thursday – including the Royal Artillery Band in Leadenhall Market – that encouraged the City to dig so deeply, with £45,000 collected at Canary Wharf alone.