Going teetotal for Dry July? Then why not pop a cork by listening to some opera instead? The repertoire is full of drinking, drunkenness and bacchanalian exploits, says Mahima Macchione, as she raises a glass to the fruitful, intoxicating relationship between opera and wine.

I’m going to say it: opera is intoxicating. And I’m not just referring to the pre-performance fizz and the wine-fuelled intervals. Look closely and you’ll find that it’s infused with drinking and drunkenness – characters are defined by it, plots hinge upon it, and music is crafted around it.

Take Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermausfor instance, an opera which is essentially steeped in alcohol from beginning to end – and is arguably all about drinking (if not a lesson on frivolous living), with the whole plot premised on a drunken night out. What’s more, it features numerous inebriated characters and...