Opera is a complex art that can very well be compared to a can of sardines. The can can be made to look very fancy. It can be covered with expensive paper and sold for a high price. Cans of certain famous brands tend to be rather expensive. Yet, the exterior of the can does not always guarantee the quality of the fish or its flavor. One would expect that the factory have efficient quality control mechanisms in place to make sure that no sardine gets through that is not ready. After all, one bad ingredient may be sufficient to spoil the whole batch. Yet, sometimes it would seem as if the taster may have been asleep, or may have had a cold that day. It may even seem as if he lacked the sense of taste altogether. When opening the can, one would hope that attention to detail may have been adhered to during processing. One would hope that all the sardines be of a certain quality, length and weight. They should all line up nicely, like a good team; they should look firm and be cooked well and with the right seasonings. But, above all, they should taste great!
Yet, if you have been around the block a couple of times, you have learned from experience that with sardine cans it is always a gamble. You have to buy the can, get home and open it. Sometimes you may find that some sardines are uncooked, that some are scrawny or immature. The oil may even be rancid or some sardines may be missing.
Sometimes, you end up with a can of worms. Then you are rightly disappointed. You go to bed feeling sorry for yourself and vow never to buy another can of sardines. Yet, you cannot help yourself. You love sardines and before the week is over, you are back for more. And if you are lucky, the next can you buy is excellent and the sardines taste wonderful. Totally satisfied, your faith in sardine cans is restored; life is worth living again. Then you go to bed a blessed being, dreaming of happily swimming sardines who jump eagerly into the cans of their own accord.
For all other times, there is always Callas.