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I gift myself 45 minutes each and every day of the week for "Paul time". I put on my earbuds, I run a few miles through the neighborhoods of Boulder and I listen to opera. Running puts me in a zone of contemplation and opera inspires me and calms my mind. When I am done running and listening, I am charged up for the day.

This charging of one's batteries by expending energy runs counter to what logic might suggest; but it works. The running charges, the opera organizes and calms. A great combination for me.

I have been focusing on Puccini's Tosca as of late. I really feel a connection to the music and what I thought was the storyline as told by the music. I don't understand a word of Italian other than "Ciao" so I mentally made up what I thought the story told; love, hardship and finally triumph. I couldn't have been more incorrect.

When you look at the actual story, which covers such fascinating subjects as torture, murder, suicide and deceit, it's as if Puccini crafted the storyline independent of the music. The opera is based on a popular French play full of overly dramatized life scenes - which maybe the audiences of the day needed for entertainment. I like to think my storyline is what Puccini really wanted to express.

But we'll never know. And that's what I love about the language of music; the purity it affords each of us to build our own libretto around a storyline that is unique to each of us.

I am sure that many of you following the story of Tosca find greater depth and meaning to its music through the understanding of its lyrics, but I for one prefer to keep my own vision of Floria Tosca's beauty just like it is in my head.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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