It was a Hogsmeade weekend, so Hogwarts should have been quiet. However, the students who had stayed behind were holding a dance marathon. Rock music blared from the Great Hall and most of the empty classrooms. Charity Burbage hurried down a staircase with her hands over her ears. Noticing that the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom was shut tight against the noise, she hurried inside for respite.
In the classroom, all was calm. Severus Snape sat at his desk, grading papers. Candles flickered in a few scattered wall sconces. And from the record player wafted strains of...baroque opera?
Professor Snape looked up from a parchment. “Do you need something?”
“I was just...well, it’s so loud out there, and I...why are you listening to opera?”
“Because, as you just mentioned, it is not loud rock music. It is infinitely more listenable, although the lyrics are almost as insipid. For the past five minutes, the chorus has been singing about how they are singing and dancing and rejoicing.”
“Is this Peri? He composed the first opera exactly 400 years ago.”
“Of course. I would be listening to Dafne instead, if anyone had been sensible enough to record it.”
“Do you know what else happened exactly 400 years ago?”
“Francis Bacon published his first book and William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor was performed for the first time,” Severus replied promptly.
She blinked. “Actually, neither is what I had in mind. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of my ancestor James Burbage. He was an actor and built the first successful playhouse in England.”
“Are there any events planned to celebrate his quadricentennial?”
“There’s actually a play tonight, but I didn’t want to go by myself...”
“Perhaps I can assist.” He offered her his arm.
The New Globe Theatre’s opening season was sold out, but Charity had connections who could procure last-minute tickets.
“The original Globe was built of lumber from James Burbage’s Theatre. After his death, his sons sneaked the lumber from under their landlord’s nose.”
Severus waved their box of chocolate truffles at her. “You mean like you were trying to sneak these from under my nose?”
She smirked. “I should include chocolate in my essay on Muggle accomplishments.”
Their moment ended, and he frowned.
“I know you think it’s too dangerous, Severus, but I must write it. I owe it to them.”