MAY is a pretty good month opera-wise. Wagner, Brahms and Tchaikovsky were all born in the month of May.

National Opera will launch details of its full season on May 1.

But, closer to home, May will also bring the chance to enjoy a unique opera dinner event at Southend’s Il Pescatore restaurant, where live music, fabulous food and even a spot of wine tasting will all be on the menu.

The event, on Sunday May 20, will be the third opera dinner night the restaurant has held - each one becoming more and more popular.

David Burzotta and his brother Daniel, have taken over Il Pescatore, in Queens Road, following their father Salvatore’s retirement.

The Burzotta family, led by Salvatore, established Il Pescatore more than 30 years. When it opened it was one of the first authentically run Italian restaurants in Southend and today it remains one of the longest running family restaurants in the town.

David said: “The opera dinner evenings are such great fun. We fuse authentic Italian cuisine with live opera singers mixing the traditions of Italy encompassing wine, opera and food.

“Diners can expect to enjoy their meal listening to all the favourite songs by Pavarotti, Alfie Boe, Mario Lanza and Il Divo, which will be sung by singers working with English National Opera among other principle companies.”

Echo: opera

Among the performers topping the bill will be award-winning London based tenor Anthony Flaum and soprano Joanna Marie Skillett. As well as being a recent graduate of the Guildhall Opera School, Joanna has a Masters Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music and, if that’s not enough, she is a former Essex Musician of the Year winner.

David added: “Our opera dinner events have become a popular event in town, adding to the cultural scene of the borough.”

So what aria or opera stalwart goes down the best with the diners?

“It’s not surprising really but it has to be Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s opera Turandot - it always goes down a storm. La Traviata is always a big hit too, as is the classical crossover stuff, like the Il Divo type pieces. There’s really something for everyone on the menu!”

Ten per cent of the funds raised through the evening will go to the charity Streetwise Opera, an award-winning charity that uses music to help vulnerable people make positive changes in their lives.

The opera singers at the Il Pescatore evening are sure to get a resounding response from the audience - though it’s unlikely they will top the record for the longest applause in opera history.

Echo: opera

That kudos went to Plácido Domingo, who after performing in the title role in Verdi’s Otello in Vienna on July 30, 1991, was treated to one hour and 20 minutes of clapping from the audience- and 101 curtain calls!

And here are a couple of other food/opera facts to digest. When imposing six-foot-four, 330-pound basso opera singer Luigi Lablache (1794-1854) was cast as prisoner wasting away in a dungeon, the audience burst into fits of laughter at the first words he sang: “I’m starving.”

It may seem an unlikely libretto but Johann Sebastian Bach actually wrote a mini-opera about coffee addiction of all things. The German composer penned Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nicht, which translates to Be Still, Stop Chattering- but goes by another name, the Coffee Cantata, in 1735.

The opera tells the story of a young woman named Aria who loves coffee against the wishes of her father , who tries to wean her off her love for the drink.

  •  Tickets for the opera dinner event cost £60.95 per person and includes three course premium dinner and live entertainment. To book call 07753 543658.