Synopsis

Scenes
Scene 1
Renowned mezzo-soprano, Zheng Cao, returns to her parking spot to discover her car has been towed. On the phone with her best friend Elaine, Zheng expresses a frustration so intense, Elaine rightfully suspects something other than the towed car is bothering Zheng. Her suspicions are well-founded; Zheng reveals she has been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer, and has been given six months to live.

Scene 2
Zheng’s sister Dan, her mentor Lula de Santos, her dear opera composer friend Mitchell, and Elaine all react to the news of Zheng’s cancer.

Scene 3
Zheng and Dan wait in a hospital waiting room for an appointment with Oncology brain surgeon, Dr. David Larson. Dan comforts Zheng with stories of the origins of their names.

David enters and takes Zheng into an examination room. He asks her about her symptoms and then about her career. Zheng tells him of upcoming contracts to play Suzuki and Cherubino. As she talks about these characters, they both appear. When David leaves to prepare for the physical exam, Cherubino teases Zheng about Zheng finding her doctor attractive. Suzuki then consoles Zheng.


Scene 4
Dr. Larson, speaking at a fundraiser, talks about the gamma knife procedure — a surgical procedure used to remove brain tumors using beams of radiation. He describes Zheng as his patient, how she sings in the hospital hallways.

Scene 5
Zheng sits in front of her mirror, embarrassed by her baldness. Suzuki attempts to lighten the mood but is unsuccessful. Dan tries to convince Zheng to go on their daily walk. Zheng throws a self-pitying tantrum, and Dan leaves frustrated. Cherubino addresses Zheng’s petulance, and Zheng makes a decision to live the moments she has left to their fullest. She leaves to join Dan on their daily walk.

Scene 6
Dan, Elaine, Lula, and Mitchell try to help Zheng cope with the physical effects of chemotherapy.

Scene 7
Zheng waits for results from David. He tells her that the gamma knife treatment worked and she is free of brain tumors. They rejoice and share a tender moment.

Scene 8
A small surprise party has been organized to celebrate Zheng surviving her six month mark. David shows up with a cake and asks Zheng out on a date.

Scene 9
Lula coaches Zheng on Suzuki’s arietta from Act I of Madam Butterfly In preparation for her upcoming contract. Still being treated for the tumors in her lungs, liver, and spine, Zheng struggles, but Lula helps her break through her fear.

Scene 10
Mitchell and Elaine visit with Zheng after her triumphant performance as Cherubino. Mitchell compliments Zheng on her ability to create joy.

Scene 11
David proposed to Zheng on a romantic walk along the beach. Zheng at first refuses, knowing that she may not have much left to live, but after a brief intervention from Cherubino, she accepts.

Scene 12
A giant wedding montage during which we see bridesmaids dresses and cake tasting and the ceremony itself.

Scene 13
Suzuki sings an aria of foreboding.

Scene 14
Zheng sings her final aria in which she lets go of her mortal attachments. The full company rejoices as Zheng rises to a new plane of existence.