Without hesitation, my pick for first favourite opera is Verdi's La Traviata. It was the first opera I saw in full- first on film, and then when Scottish Opera came to the Bradford Alhambra. I can't remember much about the Scottish Opera production, but Zeffirelli's film, which I watched with my parents in the late eighties, has always stuck with me. It was my first experience of Domingo, and my first exposure to the wonderful glamour and drama of opera. When I hear the haunting opening chords of the overture today, I am immediately taken back to my childhood and that magical moment when my obsession began.
There are so many amazing La Traviatas out there, from the sumptuous Richard Eyre production to the more modern Willy Decker that premiered at Salzburg, but it was the almost obscenely glamorous Zeffirelli film that started everything for me. It turned me into an opera fan from a ridiculously young age, and of course ensured that no romantic hero would ever quite live up to the Domingo standard. I've chosen a very depressing picture, so let's raise a glass and hum along to the Brindisi.