The first night of Der Rosenkavalier actually begins mid-afternoon. This is my first Strauss opera, and it has been a great lesson in stretching out stamina and alertness over a period of 5 hours for each show. I am singing the role of Annina, the court intrigante, who spends the show eavesdropping, starting rumours and delivering love letters. The wonderful director Lorenzo Fioroni has imagined me and my uncle as Romulus and Remus characters - an exaggeration of how a Viennese court might view two Italians in their midst. I am therefore covered in no mean amount of grime, right down to the brown tooth varnish.