Frank is a real life opera singer who was due to play the role of Scarpia in Puccini’s famous opera Tosca. He was a gifted bass singer and had never heard a sermon that connected the Christian faith to his work challenges. On a hospital visit he asked his ear nose & throat surgeon whether as a Christian he should be taking on such a role.

“Scarpia is a real scoundrel who takes delight in raping poor, vulnerable Tosca,” he said. The surgeon explained that God wants his disciples to do “all things in the name of Jesus” and this includes singing in an opera (Colossians 3). After a great deal of discussion and thought they came up with the following solution. The surgeon advised him to interpret Scarpia in a way that spills the perfume of Jesus. “Don’t glorify or trivialise what Scarpia is up to,” he advised, “Sing the part so that people are horrified by this wicked tyrant.”

And that’s what he did. The opera singer had been helped by a surgeon to develop a baptised imagination.

Mark Roques
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Mark Roques

Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Prior Park College, Bath, for many years. As Director of RealityBites he has developed a rich range of resources for youth workers and teachers. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Holland, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a lively storyteller and the author of four books, including The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. His work is focused on storytelling and how this can help us to communicate the Christian faith. He has written many articles for the Baptist Times, RE Today, Youthscape, Direction magazine and the Christian Teachers Journal.