With a song in my heart

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It must have been many moons ago, as I only watch television on the cross trainer in my local gym nowadays, but there was one Christmas when I sat down at home to watch a production of Puccini’s perennially popular opera, La Boheme, in a televised production from Sydney Opera House. It wasn’t my first time of seeing the opera, but I hadn’t performed any of its roles at that stage, so I was unprepared for the way the production tugged at my heart strings.

Acts 1 and 2 of the opera tell of the struggles of a group of young impoverished, emerging artists to make something festive of their Christmas. They manage to get a decent cafe meal by tricking a sugar daddy of one of the gang’s females into paying for all of them. So far, so droll.

Eventually the rigours of poverty, sickness and dysfunctional relationships take their toll and at the end of the opera, another of the female characters passes away. The final scene always gets me blubbing as an audience member, whether it’s at Christmas time or not.

There is something cathartic about having a good old sob at this time of year, when it can only be attributed to effective storytelling, sensational music making and the power of a team’s effort.

Hopefully the audience member comes away more sensitised from the experience and willing to be generous in spirit towards his or her fellow beings.