Cecilia Smiga (19th March 1975 to 14th April 2013)

 

When people die they’re often return to their home town to be buried/cremated. Wrexham-born Cecilia Smiga was one. This internationally-acclaimed opera singer died aged 38 after doctors failed to find a grapefruit-sized tumour in her chest. Here I am at Pentrebycham Crematorium near Wrexham where she was turned to ash and partially sent into the heavens. What a waste of a life.

 

This soprano had high-level training at Flanders Opera studio in Belgium, the Zürich International Opera Studio and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Aged 23 she graduated from Manchester and had a distinguished career, her credits include the big ones: Fiordigili from Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte", Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" and Puccini's "La Boheme". She was acclaimed in the West End as Carlotta from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera". There were also many faultless performances at huge sporting venues where a powerful voice is needed to lift the atmosphere. For her final three years she was head of the music and drama department at the LVS Ascot School, Berkshire.

 

For several months Cecilia had been feeling short of breath and tiredness. In December 2012 she went to her doctor who prescribed antibiotics. Eventually she had a CT scan that revealed a tumour the size of a grapefruit behind her heart. It was too late, steroids failed and she died five days later. On the way to Snowdonia for a long weekend I decided to head southward first and visit her final destination, see the chimney where some of her particles rose up and away. I strolled to the memorial gardens where her ashes were scattered (though I’m not certain). Sorry about the bald milk-white legs in the photos; it was a hot day. I did a heart salute at the crematorium chimney and left.

 

Here’s Cecilia singing probably the most famous aria O Mio Babbino Caro... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbyUhGzjqxE

 

 

Looking at the crematorium chimney…

 

Pointing to the Way Out sign….the final way out through the chimney…

 

 

Pointing to the Garden Of Remembrance where Cecilia ass presumably strewn…