Secret Opera Society

The Secret Opera Society event at restaurant Centotre brings together music and cuisine in a stunning fusion of Italian culture with a strong Scottish sensibility and humour. The waiting staff at Centotre were joined by the Secret Opera Singers, taking the ‘singing waiter’ concept to new operatic heights.

After being seated, tearing savagely at focaccia like the hungry students we were and feeling very underdressed, we saw head waiter ‘Valentino’ take to the stage: the space between the tables. With a sense of profundity, he explained gravely that opera is the most beautiful music, and that the most beautiful music must be sung ‘in Italiano’. Naturalmente. He then proceeded to sing La Donna E Mobile. It was indeed beautiful. The high ceilings of the restaurant made for wonderful if unconventional acoustics, and the columns and frescoes decorating the space added to the Mediterranean atmosphere.

However, this evening was anything but traditional and grandiose: after Valentino’s tour de force, a verbose young Scottish waiter began insisting he could sing much better, launching into a rip-roaring rendition of ‘500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers. Injecting humour was a shrewd move, as it transformed what could have descended into an elite evening of high culture into a show appealing to everyone. ‘La Donna’ was in fact more my glass of prosecco than ‘500 Miles’, but the latter immediately got the audience on the side of the performers.

The rest of the show unfolded in a mixture of the profound and the fluffy, the comedic and the sincere, as plates of delicious food were produced by real waiters, thankfully: I had been dubious of asking a singer to perform a tricky aria and simultaneously dole out tiramisu. A giggling waitress was cajoled into singing by Valentino, who later in the evening revealed himself to be actually from Aberdeen and therefore as Italian as a deep-fried Mars Bar. He pronounced her yowling attempts at scales into the microphone as ‘bella, mia cara!’, before telling her to sing a song ‘in Italiano’. The scalded cat impression melted into a heartbreakingly lovely soprano as she performed Nella Fantasia, a classical crossover song, followed by an aria from Puccini’s Tosca.

There were plenty of numbers catering more to a cabaret audience, with the duet ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story and a few songs from Les Miserables providing some lighter entertainment. While this made the show appeal to a broader audience, personally I could have done with a little more opera: it was all great fun, but I wish that the skilled singers from ‘Secret Opera’ had tackled something more challenging, and perhaps lesser known. Even so, for some fantastic food in an even better atmosphere, with serenades from truly talented performers, look no further than the next Secret Opera at Centotre. Bellissimo.

Reviews by Laura Francis

theSpace on Niddry St

The Bastard Queen

Traverse Theatre


The Assembly Rooms

A Split Decision

Pleasance Courtyard

Show Off


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now


The Blurb

It’s magnifico! It’s deliziosissima! Shhh, it’s a secret! Enjoy three courses of Italian flavours, served up to the sweet serenades of the Secret Opera Society. A surprise worth dining for. Fine food and top-secret entertainment guaranteed! Bravissimo!

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets