Madam Butterfly is the opera for everyone; it has all the emotion of classic opera, exquisite Puccini music, a heart-breaking story, striking sets and a thrilling dramatic finale. And this production is extra special with the full-on participation of master puppeteers Blind Summit Theatre to reach out to an even wider audience.
It is the fifth revival of the first and only opera directed by the late Anthony Minghella and a global masterpiece, combining classic cinematic ingredients with wow-factor staging. It is minimalist, with Japanese screens sliding back to reveal bold blocks of striking colour but of course, the star attraction is always the perfection of amazingly sung arias like ‘One Beautiful Day’.
The title soprano role of Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San ) the doomed 15-year-old geisha girl, alternates between Mary Plazas and Dina Kuznetsova and the cad who deserts her, Lieutenant Pinkerton, is powerfully sung by leading tenor Timothy Richards.
But don’t underestimate the two linchpin roles of Suzuki, Butterfly’s loyal maid and Sharpless, the thoroughly decent US consul at Nagasaki are endearing and performed with great gusto by Pamela Helen Stephen and George von Bergen.
Who can’t resist the allure of such a tragic tender story; a deserted child bride from one proud culture, scorned by the callousness of an older man from a totally different world. And when there’s a baby in the mix to induce extra drama, it all adds up to an evening of wonderful entertainment, guaranteed to keep you humming for days afterwards.
Last performance at The London Coliseum on December 1
For further info: www.eno.org, 020 7845 9300