Sunday the 21st of September saw the Opera Dudes on local turf at the Holme Pierrepont Hall in Nottingham.
The hall was built by Sir William Pierrepont around 1500, early Tudor Manor house and family home to the Brackenbury family. Set in 30 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens, the house is available to host weddings, private parties or corporate events.
We arrived in our trusty Fiat van ready for action. We were directed to the servants entrance where we were met by the wonderful and very lively catering staff. They were particularly pleased that we were there to pretend to be waiters and thus make their life easier. Or so they thought...! First job - find us aprons for the task in hand.
After setting up our PA in the Long Gallery and making sure that we didn't make too much noise and give the game away, we made our way down into the kitchen where we were given our pinnies and silver ties to make us blend in with the rest of the waiters.
We were then handed a mirror the size of a wagon wheel at which point I thought to myself, I’d just combed my hair a minute ago, what is this for? The hors d’oeuvres apparently!! Whatever happened to good old trays?
Off we marched into the garden, being very careful not to let the hors d’oeurvres take off from the mirrors on the breeze that was building up.
We needed to assume new identities for the job, so I became Luigi and Tim, ze very elegant Francois. With our respective accents we acted the part to perfection, drawing the guests into a false sense of security. So successful was the act that one lady commented on how the hors d’oeurvres tasted so much better being served by a waiter with such a delicious accent!
The guests eventually made their way up into the long gallery where they took their seats. Tim and I proceeded to undertake the onerous task of filling the water glasses and clearing the plates - tough work for us opera singers - and made sure that everyone thought we were really waiters.
Straight after the main course Tim - or should I say 'Francois' - made a brief announcement, saying that the sweet had been slightly delayed but that this had given him the chance to wish the young lady whose birthday it was a happy birthday French style!! Not wanting to be outdone Luigi displayed typical Italian modesty by insisting that only an Italian could really do justice to Happy Birthday and would show everyone how it was done - top C and all!
Much hilarity ensued and before long we were serenading everyone with Nessun Dorma, The Pearlfishers and even a touch of swing.
Everyone seemed astonished and surprised - apart from Beryl and Neil, the loving parents who had set their daughter up! - and from what everyone said afterwards it was a huge success and they had all thought we were genuine waiters.
We had a great day. A lovely venue, delightful people, many happy faces and some light waitering duties - what could be better?!