Theatre Royal Plymouth - Welsh National Opera

Theatre Royal Plymouth - Welsh National Opera

This Spring, Welsh National Opera is performing a season of operas La bohème, Madam Butterfly and Le Vin herbè that explore three very different stories all linked by intoxicating love stories. It will take audiences on a journey of love, passion, heartbreak and tragedy and we explore how movies, theatre and music have your bottom lip trembling.

The world can be a sad enough place so why are we so obsessed with sad songs, theatre or movies? Maybe it’s because sometimes we all need a good cry. Here are a few examples of tear jerkers from the world of cinema, theatre and music.


La bohème

Opening WNO’s Spring season is one of opera’s greatest love stories, Puccini’s La bohème.  This opera will whisk you to bohemian Paris to witness the heartbreaking tale of Mimi and Rodolfo who fall in love but are destined for tragedy.  Set to Puccini’s evocative score, this is one to make even the hardest of opera goers reaching for the tissues as you are swept on a heart-stopping journey of love and loss.


Miss Saigon

This classic musical is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to the 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly's story of marriage between an American lieutenant and a geisha is replaced by a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bargirl. This story and its score can evoke a multitude of emotions from elation to loss, and one of the songs that sends most audiences’ bottom lip quivering is I Still Believe sung by the women the American GI left and the one he is with.



Disney started their theme of traumatic animal plots very early on, back in 1942. One of the most iconic tragic moments in Disney history is the famous moment Bambi the fawn’s mother is killed by a hunter, leaving him alone in the forest to fend for himself.


Marley and Me

Many books have been adapted to film and with both you can make your own connections with the characters. There are many examples of this but one that touches everyone on some level is Marley and Me. Based on the memoir of the same name by John Grogan, the film adaptation stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as Marley's owners. The story takes you through the highs and lows of family life and the constant juggling that goes on. Add in an unruly but loveable dog who grows with the family until his heartbreaking passing and you have a classic tear-jerker.  This is one to make even the hardest of hearts melt.


Ghost – Unchained Melody

It’s not just movies and books that can cause sadness - music can transport you to a particular time in your life or to any place. The soundtrack to a movie can also use the same song to provoke to different emotions, and this is true with Ghost. Unchained Melody is used a few times throughout the movie once in the love scene between Molly and Sam with the full version by the Righteous Brothers and then at the end when Sam is saying goodbye there is a beautiful string version which also pulls at the heartstrings.



The sad Disney theme continues to this day with Up. Viewers will be in tears within minutes of the opening of the film. Within the first ten minutes the charming yet tragic love story of Carl and Ellie is depicted in a montage of their life.



We all know the story of Titanic, but when James Cameron brought not just the story of the unsinkable ship to life but then added a love story across the social classes it provoked not only a sense of nostalgia but a sense of how even in the height of danger love can prevail. Cameron's inspiration for the film came from his fascination with shipwrecks; he felt a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to convey the emotional impact of the disaster.  Have you managed to get through a viewing of this 3-hour epic without welling up?


Watership Down

Despite being a children’s film, Watership Down is often described as ‘traumatic’. This animal-based tear jerker is both violent and sad. The final scene of this film is sure to tug at your heartstrings, as Hazel (one of the principle characters) dies whilst Art Garfunkel’s famous song ‘Bright Eyes’ can be heard.


La bohème, Madam Butterfly and Le Vin herbé are being performed at Plymouth Theatre Royal between18 – 22 April as part of WNO’s Spring season

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