Madama Butterfly

The Humming Chorus

Though two sleeps have passed since I blissed out on Madama Butterfly, sitting outdoors on the edge of the harbour, with the city, bridge and Opera House in the background, I am not yet fully down to earth.

There is something about opera at its best which enables me to completely forget myself and to disappear into the music. Not every time, not even every opera, but enough times to make me want to keep coming back to relish the experience when it happens. I must admit that some other performances have had the same effect, Leonard Cohen in concert certainly did, but opera’s power to do this is something special.

In this particular performance the Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura thrilled us constantly but in One Fine Day, or more literally One Beautiful Day, she captured all the passion, longing and the loss of innocence of Cio-Cio San. I died and went to heaven.

The Humming Chorus, that melancholy and rhythmic calm before the storm of Pinkerton’s betrayal, was another moment when it seemed as if the music and I melded into one. Some people seem to achieve this state in meditation, though it has never worked for me.

As someone who can always think of something to worry or obsess about, it is such a delight to simply disappear, mind and body, into the music.

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