Spoiler warning: contains some details about last night's Downton Abbey episode.
So one of the plot points last night - egregiously, in my opinion - was an appearance by an Australian singer. Eventually, it emerged that she was an Australian opera singer, and then that she was none other than Dame Nellie Melba.
That is where I started to get the fear, which turned out to be justified. The great soprano was played by Dame Kiri te Kanawa, a great singer now essentially retired.
Leaving aside the fact that she is not Australian (and her ancestry is part Maori) -
Dame Kiri is 70; I last heard her a couple of years back at the Flicka farewell recital. I remember her from the 70s and 80s, and I'd rather remember the Kiri of her prime than what I heard in 2011.
It was just plain sad to hear her two years ago, and even sadder to hear her picking her way carefully through a couple of numbers, knowing what she would have sounded like in her prime. Not only that, but her appearance misrepresents Melba. Here's Dame Nellie, age 65, at her 1926 Covent Garden farewell; yes, she is more careful than she would have been in 1906, but the freshness of tone and control are still remarkable: