The best opera ever written, Simon, is possibly the opera which you are about to write. Of course, you have some stiff competition from the past, to be sure, but so what? Out of interest, Simon, are you not Simon Boccanegra? This is widely considered to be one of Giuseppe Verdi's many masterpieces, but is it the best opera Verdi wrote?
At the Proms this summer, both Verdi's and Wagner's bicentenaries are being celebrated, but it is Richard Wagner whose operas have been performed in full, or at least seven of them.
What on earth has given opera its prestige in western civilisation, a prestige which has outlasted so many different fashions and ways of thought? Why are people prepared to sit silently through many hours of performance of which they do not understand a word and of which they seldom even know the plot? Perhaps we simply like the music?
Lord Clark of 'Civilisation' (1969) argued that we do it because it is irrational. What is too silly to be said, or too subtle, or too deeply felt, or too revealing, or too mysterious - these things can still be sung. Yet opera still belongs to a living tradition. Better operas have yet to be written, Simon? Why not have a go?