It’s story-time at the Opera: time for three very brief tales. Tale no. 1: it’s the 1730s, and we are on a Turkish island in the Indian Ocean where the ruling Pasha is holding an abducted but unyielding French lady in his harem. As his feelings for her become dangerously intense, a tempest blows up and a ship capsizes close by. On board is a French naval officer who, it so happens, loves and is loved by the lady. The Pasha’s henchmen take the ship in charge. A catastrophe in the offing? Quite the reverse. The Pasha returns the lady to the officer, launching them homeward to France with a silent tear but also with African dances and rich gifts, for (as he explains) the officer had years before given him his freedom when he had been enslaved – by Barbary pirates most like.