[Met Performance] CID:352090
Madama Butterfly {812} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/08/2007., Sirius Broadcast live
Streamed at metopera.org

(Debuts: Luca Salsi, Kevin Augustine, Tom Lee
Broadcast/Streamed
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 8, 2007 Broadcast/Streamed


MADAMA BUTTERFLY {812}
Puccini-Illica/Giacosa

Cio-Cio-San.............Patricia Racette
Pinkerton...............Roberto Alagna
Suzuki..................Maria Zifchak
Sharpless...............Luca Salsi [Debut]
Goro....................David Cangelosi
Bonze...................Dean Peterson
Yamadori................David Won
Kate Pinkerton..........Edyta Kulczak
Commissioner............Keith Miller
Yakuside................Gregory Lorenz
Mother..................Beverly Withers
Aunt....................Jean Braham
Cousin..................Laura Fries
Registrar...............Christian Jeong
Dancer..................Hsin Ping Chang
Dancer..................James Graber
Cio-Cio-San's Child
(Puppet)................Kevin Augustine [Debut], Mark Down, Tom Lee [Debut]

Conductor...............Mark Elder

Production..............Anthony Minghella
Associate Director/
Choreographer...........Carolyn Choa
Set Designer............Michael Levine
Costume Designer........Han Feng
Lighting Designer.......Peter Mumford
Puppetry................Blind Summit Theatre, Mark Down and Nick Barnes

Production a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sid R. Bass

Broadcast live on Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio
Streamed live at metopera.org


Madama Butterfly is a co-production with English National Opera and the Lithuanian National Opera


Madama Butterfly received six performances this season


Production photos of Madama Butterfly by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera.

Review of Joshua Rosenblum in the January 2008 issue of Opera News


Anthony Minghella's production of "Madama Butterfly" made a deservedly large splash last year as the [beginning] act of Peter Gelb's first season as Met general manager. Minghella's elegant, often breathtaking rendering, adorned with ritualistic Japanese touches and enhanced by the use of Bunraku puppetry, remains awe-inspiring.

The big news in this year's outing, however, was Patricia Racette in the title role (seen Oct. 8). Set against the exotic pageantry and ceremony, the genuine humanity of Racette's Cio-Cio-San has an especially devastating impact. Racette drew on her formidable arsenal of dramatic and musical resources as she traversed Butterfly's emotional journey - one of the most demanding in the repertory with an unerring sense of who the girl is and how she should sound every step of the way.

In her first scene, Racette managed to seem childlike and innocent without resorting to annoying girlish mannerisms or affectations. Instead, she did it with the natural grace and self-effacement of a well-trained teenaged geisha. Later in the scene, she shimmered beguilingly, in both voice and demeanor, as she told Roberto Alagna's Pinkerton about her trip to the mission to become a Christian. At this point, Racette let the geisha facade slip a bit, allowing a glimpse of Butterfly's passion and vulnerability.

In the couple's subsequent scene alone together, Racette sang with an easy, speech-like delivery and a vibrato that added natural sweetness. Here and everywhere, her sound was ravishing, and the Met orchestra under Mark Elder glittered opulently in sympathetic response. Racette and Alagna were perfectly matched vocally in the unison duet passages, and her high C at the end sounded like a genuine cry of rapture.

In Act II, once Butterfly has been abandoned (after a clever bit of "now you see him, now you don't" stagecraft by Minghella), Racette displayed an unmistakable gravitas born of pain. Her "Un bel di" poured out like liquid gold, but the pathos underlying it was almost unbearable. The high drama moments - her cries of "Morta" at the end of "Che tua madre," her collapse upon seeing Pinkerton's ship - had phenomenal power, given her prior restraint. By the time Racette reached the final scene with her son, her Butterfly had evolved into a fully mature, emotionally devastated woman.

There was not a weak link in the rest of the cast. Alagna proved particularly well suited to Pinkerton - his ease of vocal production matched his facile pronouncements in "Dovunque al mondo," and he was almost likable when he dropped his smugness upon Butterfly's entrance (although there was one very prominent, extremely sharp high A at the end of the scene with Sharpless). Maria Zifchak rattled off Suzuki's chatter in Act I with unusually good diction and turned convincingly fearsome later in her attack on David Cangelosi's vividly characterized Goro. As Sharpless, Luca Salsi's robust, burnished baritone gave him the authority to be the moral center of the opera, and in Act II he bore his anguish magnificently. David Won was a noble, dignified
Yamadori, someone Butterfly could possibly have found happiness with in other circumstances. The portrayal of Butterfly's young son by three black-clad Bunraku puppeteers - one of Minghella's most talked-about touches - afforded some moments of subtle poetic beauty that could not have been achieved by a real child, no matter how gifted.



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