Opera Therapy - screener

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Opera Therapy

Year: 2005, 52 mins
Code: FRE-Opera

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OPERA THERAPY documents the therapeutic journey of four people who experienced the transformative power of self-expression while battling with cancer. They were a part of creating an opera based on their personal stories, under the guidance of talented music therapist Emma O’Brien. 

Mary is a 50 year old Maltese woman who is four years post bone marrow transplant for a very rare form of lymphoma; Lisa is a 33 year old Greek woman with acute leukaemia who is a mother of four and was only two weeks post bone marrow transplant when she embarked on this project; Bruce is a 53 year old man who has both terminal bone cancer (multiple myeloma) as well as multiple sclerosis, and Dianne is a 54 year old woman who shares her stories both of experiencing breast cancer herself and caring for her daughter Marla who died two weeks into the project from relapsing acute leukaemia. 

The documentary filming took place throughout the creative process, displaying the innovative methods of composing used by Emma to tap into the participants’ innate musicality and bring their stories to life as an opera. The subsequent performance of the opera was made possible by the involvement of the creative team from the More Than Opera opera company, and its therapeutic effects on the participants are obvious. 

PARTICIPANTS: Mary Doggett-Williams, Dianne Graham, Lisa Kanidiadis & Bruce McCulloch, Emma O’Brien – music therapist/composer, David Kram – musical director of the opera. 
2005, 52 mins.

Some comments from viewers after the film was screened on SBS, the Storyline Australia programme in Australia: 

Opera Therapy was simply wonderful, I was silenced by it's beauty. -- Sue Littleford 

Bravo Storyline Australia for screening the opera story of four brave Australians suffering from cancer. As a novelist, I must confess how words fail me to explain how inspired I felt while viewing this incredible opera production. I firmly believe it has now become part of the music of the spheres. -- Andrew Ryan 

What an inspiring show! I would like to thank the patients for telling their individual stories with such openness. My best thoughts and wishes go to them all. -- Neil K 

WINNER: Silver Hugo in the Documentary: Arts/Humanities area (Chicago International Film Festival) 2006 

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