Only opera can make Andy McNab cry - but which one?

11 October 2014, 18:37 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 14:45

Action thriller writer and former SAS man Andy McNab has revealed the only thing that has ever made him cry was Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte.

Andy McNab first came to prominence as an author in 1993 after publishing his breakthrough bestseller Bravo Two Zero, an account of his capture and brutal torture by the Iraqi army in the first Gulf War of 1991.

But, asked by John Inverdale during an appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Thursday whether anything could make him cry, he said: “Yeah, opera - about four years ago. I pretended there was a bit of dust in my eye, but it wasn’t. I love opera. It’s amazing.”

The opera in question, according to The Times, was a performance at Glyndebourne of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, which - as opera lovers will know - is essentially a classical romcom.

“It’s the event. It’s the fact that it’s live. Then I went to Milan, to La Scala. Even English National Opera I thought was great. People say that changing it into English is wrong, but I don’t care. It’s about the performances.”

Anybody concerned that McNab, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal during his army career, is going soft will be relieved to hear that the author is also a big fan of Wagner. 

He revealed that he wanted to go and watch The Ring Cycle in Vienna, but was having difficulty persuading his wife to join him. “She likes it,” he said. “But not for 15 hours. But it’s got to be done."