Her voice could raze cathedrals to the ground.
On the first night, her soaring Italian crotchets rattled the windows of the church down the road. The spire shook in the gale while the stained-glass saints gripped their multicoloured relics and prayed. Stone and sand trembled in her presence. So what chance did a romantic fool of a second violinist have?
It was love at first semi-quaver.
On the first night, his love-addled brain missed every single cue. The German conductor threw a baton at him during the interval.
On the second night, he rushed through the staves just so he could hear her sing again. During the break, the conductor, wielding a trumpet above his head, had to be restrained by a burly member of the percussion section.
On the third night, he played the loudest in his row; sawing at his instrument like an enthusiastic tree surgeon.
“This is on the blink again,” remarked a pensioner in the crowd, fiddling with his hearing aid. “I can’t hear the trombones.”
But still, she had not noticed him.
On the final evening, fuelled by desperation and a dramatic reinterpretation of an advice column found on a dating website, he made his final stand.
The polite middle-class applause politely fell silent as, just before the interval, a black-haired violinist in the orchestra stood up and, without introduction, moved to the edge of the stage and began to play.
The soprano’s eyes widened in shock. The violinist’s eyes closed in concentration.
As he slipped out of consciousness, having plummeted onto the first row of the audience, a retired doctor braced his fracture with the shattered remains of a 19th Century violin.
Later, while he waited in the emergency room, (the remnants of a violin bow tied to his leg), the soprano, still wearing her flowing red gown, asked him his name.