I am Rumiko Hasegawa, Founder of More Than Musical. I remember clearly my first opera aria on a stage was Puccini's "Vissi D'Arte Vissi D'Amore" ("I lived for art, I lived for love") from Tosca 13 years ago. It was quite a transition from Madonna's "Material Girl". I was working on the trading floor of American investment bank, Tokyo office, headed a sales desk covering Japanese clients and my Madonna was a big hit.

It was so random when another working mother friend talked me into starting a new hobby - singing opera aria. She said, "It is terrible! We have no hobby! Let's sing opera aria!". One of my usual sayings is "Why not?" and I say it on the trading floor to try new ideas and approaches. So I said "Why not?" to her.

My first singing lesson was a disaster. But it was fun to sing beautiful Italian opera arias with a piano. I got totally hooked. As the teacher was brave and I was shameless, we chose "Vissi D'Arte Vissi D'Amore" as my aria for the first concert. Then vigorous practice began. Singing every night at home in a walk-in closet, door closed, and every weekend at a lesson exposed me to an opportunity to express the feeling of love and hatred passionately. I found the emotional outlet. I revealed myself and started to feel comfortable being vulnerable. I feel human.

I was running at the fastest pace on the trading floor, leading a sales team and trying to be a good mother. I had had no time for myself and stopped breathing deep to look into myself. What a different life I rediscovered!

"I live for art and I live for love" is a perfect song at this stage of my life. Starting "More Than Musical" , making operas in Hong Kong, and surrounded with my loving family and friends to pursue my passion of opera is just PERFECT! Check out our other programmes on www.morethanmusical.org to see if anything interests you!

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