Let’s have a look at recommendations for the opera from our entertainment columnist Eugene Smith.

Wisbech Standard: Hunts Post entertainment columnist Eugene Smith.Hunts Post entertainment columnist Eugene Smith. (Image: EUGENE SMITH)

Touring companies regularly play venues in Cambridge, Bedford and Milton Keynes, but don’t feel that you have to go for size and spectacle.

Some of the best productions I’ve seen have been scaled-down for studio spaces.

If you fancy a trip to London, the two main destinations are the Royal Opera House and the Coliseum.

The latter is the home of the English National Opera, and on the plus side, they offer good discounts for multiple bookings.

Their operas are sung in English, although the surtitles (think train indicator boards) come in handy.

And by the way, don’t worry about not understanding the plots. In most operas a character explains the whole thing within the first few minutes.

The downside of the ENO is that some of their productions are terrible - Emma Rice’s recent Orpheus in the Underworld was shockingly bad, managing to be both prudish and tasteless.

They also offer free seats for children, so if you fancy boring your kids senseless, then telling them off and generally annoying the paying customers, go for it.

The ROH tends to be more traditional, and if you’re after the grand opera experience this is the place to go.

The tickets can be expensive - but that said no more so than football or stadium concerts - and if you’re on a budget you can stand for £10.

What to see? If it’s your first opera, go for something traditional. I think we’ve established that opera snobs should be ignored - there is nothing shameful in seeing Puccini’s La Boheme.

Unless you’re very easily amused I’d steer clear of Rossini, and Wagner has been likened to an extremely long, wandering anecdote which never seems to finish.

My recommendation? Carmen. Bizet’s masterpiece is packed full of sublime melodies, doesn’t outstay its welcome and even has a good plot.

Right, that’s brought the curtain down on opera. For now. Next time, the worst productions of recent years…