But even then, I've had two iconic arias stuck in my head since seeing Carmen in this year's Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour at Mrs Macquarie's Point; surprisingly, one tune that most people would actually know.
|Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen at Fleet Steps, Mrs. Macquarie's Point, Sydney|
The Opera on Sydney Harbour is an Opera Australia initiative aiming to bring opera to a broader audience in a more accessible arena.
Indeed, there's nothing stuffy about having a stage sitting in shimmering Sydney Harbour at what looks like a precariously sloping angle, with ferries passing behind and the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge just over yonder.
|The setting for Carmen|
|The stage from the Southern Terrace|
My extended stroll through the Botanic Gardens sees me arrive at the red carpet a little flustered, but greeted by the varied array of dining options all by Fresh Catering.
|Adina Garden Bar|
They've strived to cover any taste and any budget with an on-theme Spanish touch, and food outlets located conveniently in every direction and area.
|Adina Garden Bar food offerings|
|Cold food options at the Southern Terrace|
|View from the Southern Terrace|
|Food offerings from the Sparkling Wine Bar|
|The Northern Cantina|
|The Northern Cantina|
There was also the upstairs Northern Terrace offering more substantial eats: a huge range of tapas-style share plates and a specialty paella station.
|The Platinum Lounge dining area|
|Confit salmon with a salad of broad beans, spiced almonds and horseradish creme with asparagus and flowers|
|Heirloom tomato salad with broad beans, spiced almonds and horseradish creme with asparagus and flowers|
|Pyrenees lamb rump with potato catalana, roasted Brussels sprouts |
with mojo sauce and shaved manchego cheese
|Chocolate and orange tart with hazelnut praline|
|Seasonal fruit plate with kaffir lime syrup and orange sorbet|
|Selection of Spanish cheese with quince, muscatel and crackers|
|The poncho-wearing audience|
So, the hundreds in the crowd donned the sponsor's blue ponchos en masse and became a spectacle itself, watching and listening through the pitter-patter on the rather efficient plastic coverings.
|Milijana Nikolic as Carmen (Photo by James Morgan)Image from a different night - courtesy of Opera Australia|
|James Clayton as toreador Escamillo (Photo by James Morgan)|
Image from a different night - courtesy of Opera Australia
In spite of the rain, and in fact, maybe because of it, my second experience at the opera was an unforgettably enjoyable one - and I can't wait to see what Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will be doing next year.
See more photos on my Facebook page. Carmen runs from 22 March to 12 April 2013 - more details of the show and dining packages here.
Food, booze and shoes attended Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen as a guest of Opera Australia.