Madame Butterfly

Or Madama Butterfly, as it was sung in Italian. The music is sublime to begin with, and this performance was very good. Pinkerton (boo, hiss) seemed drowned by the orchestra at times, but Butterfly was brilliant and very affecting (although obviously not a teenager).

I saw this opera in Stuttgart about 3 years ago and there it was a comparatively minimalist production. This, in contrast, was more obviously “Japanese”, which served to highlight Butterfly’s metamorphosis from Cio-Cio-San to the “wife” of an American, and the American consul’s adoption of Japanese customs. It’s jarring to realise that you are watching a study in what is now termed child abuse, and the unheeded comments of the consul Sharpless (a pointed name, or did the librettist intend to call him Sharples?) offer a moral view. There is also plenty of material in the opera to highlight the cynical and degrading nature of colonial dominance.

It’s certainly bizarre how a breaking heart can be portrayed so beautifully, but Puccini does it every time.

  • Butterfly – Anne Sophie Duprels
  • Pinkerton – Merunas Vitulskis
  • Suzuki – Ann Taylor
  • Sharpless – Peter Savidge

About aides memoires

This is a chronological list of things I have seen, places I have visited, and thoughts that have wandered through the space between my ears. A reading group of one; an art appreciation society limited by my preferences and prejudices; opera criticism by one who knows nothing about the subject.
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