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If you care for opera, or you would like to know more about some very special operas, let me recommend the most amazing series on BBC Radio 3 this week.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Genius ... Learning about Giacomo Puccini's brilliant stagings and scorings on BBC radio is a must if you care about opera.
Beginning last Monday, the midday programme has been revealing considerably more about Giacomo Puccini's stagings than we would normally discover. Donald Macleod explains in depth about the moving, very powerful operas, and plays some of the best excerpts.

Donald Macleod has been running the Composer of the Week hour at lunchtime and until recently, in the evening, too, for many years. I first discovered this classical music authority while enduring the State's version of hospitality. It certainly helped me cope with injustice.

Especially helpful

This week's is really special because he is aided by perhaps the Number 1 authority on Puccini's operas, Sir Antonio Pappano.

What's especially helpful about this week's episodes is that we get a marvellous insight into the characterisations. I understand now so much more about the sad main character, Butterfly, for instance, than I gained from seeing many stagings of the opera.

The knowledge of these two authorities working together offers a truly amazing portrayal of these classics.

If you care about opera, or if you would simply like to know more, all episodes are available on the BBC iPlayer, here.

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.