Thursday, November 20, 2008

Madama Butterfly

Lucinda and I went to see Madama Butterfly at The Gaiety last night. I really enjoyed it - it was done in the simple style that I like - good lighting to indicate time of day and mood, and quite a bare set, with Japanese-type-sliding doors to open and close areas of the stage.

Last night, I found the lighting particularly good - there was one scene in Act II, where Butterfly, her servant Suzuki and her son, are sitting up, awaiting Pinkerton's return. No a word is sung, and there is no movement. This scene goes on for quite a good while, with beautiful beautiful music, and very slow changes in the lighting - at one point, there was a warm glow on Butterfly's intense face, and on the Buddha statue in a corner of the room. As the night goes on, and hope fades, the lighting turns almost to black and white - the scene looked like a sketch from a graphic novel, not quite manga, but very abstract. Yet, the strength of feelings is carried through, as Suzuki's posture slumps down, while Butterfly, refusing to lose hope, sits erect through the night.

I'm not a huge Puccini fan (not enough big ensemble pieces - Mozart is much more entertaining that way), but the music in Madama Butterfly is lovely, and the singing and acting was first class. My favourites (and everybody else's) were: Yunah Lee as Cio Cio San (Butterfly), Keith Olsen as Pinkerton, Marcel Vanaud (Belgian Baritone) as Sharpless, the consul, and Qiu Lin Zhang as Suzuki.

Hopefully Benjamen Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream tomorrow night will be as good. Looking at the article in the Irish Times, it should be exciting anyway!

I hope it's half as good as this production I found on YouTube. Here are 3 clips from it (in no particular order):

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