Since we’re on the subject, here is another confession of opera heresy: I
can’t stand Papageno. I cringe every time he comes on stage. It drives me to homicidal fury when someone in a nearby seat, having sat silent and rapt through Papageno’s drivelling fool ditties, then proceeds to fidget,
rustle, murmur and cough his way through Sarastro’s tremendous aria. One
day, when I have terminal cancer and nothing matters any more, I shall go to
a Magic Flute with a fowling-piece concealed down my trouser leg, loaded with birdshot.