"A hop and a skip and a jump away from the good Old Vic at Waterloo"

Mirrored curtain reflecting the audience at the Royal Coburg, 1822
Public DomainMirrored curtain reflecting the audience at the Royal Coburg, 1822 - Credit: US Library of Congress
The Old Vic Theatre still stands close to Waterloo Station in London, with Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey now acting as Artistic Director.  The theatre opened as the Royal Coburg in 1818, and after struggling against repeated threats of closure in the 19th century enjoyed years as a leading national theatre, attracting actors including Michael Redgrave, Peggy Ashcroft and Alec Guinness as well as Spacey himself.

Fevvers recounts visits to see several Shakespearian productions; the romance of Romeo and Juliet, the history of Richard III, known as Crookback Dick, and the comedy of Twelfth Night in which the pompous Malvolio is tricked into appearing in yellow stockings, worn cross-gartered (ie with the ribbons criss-crossed on his shins).

The Marriage of Figaro presents a satire of the aristocracy in a comic opera by Mozart.  The Count Almaviva, seeks the attention of Susanna, fiancee of his servant Figaro; between them the couple expose him, restore his love for his own wife, and are happily married.  The play upon which the opera was based was originally banned in Vienna for its undermining of the aristocracy, but the opera was one of Mozart's most successful and Lizzie's words are ironic, since its focus is distinctly on the comic rather than the political.

The heroine of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen is a Spanish gypsy from Seville, an alluring dancer who warns, "If you love me ah! then beware".  The opera ends with her murder at the hand of her spurned lover Don Jose.  Fevvers herself is heard singing the 'Habanera' at the close of the novel.