Opera North are back in Nottingham with their production of Madam Butterfly by Giacometti Puccini. The opera in two acts tells the story of a Geisha Cio-Cio-San who is set to marry an American who is based in her home town of Nagasaki. Lieutenant Pinkerton is fascinated by the girl and with his money he is able to marry Cio-Cio with the help of a marriage broker who can organise anything with the help of cash.
A sad tale of a girl who is blinded by the hope of Love and the promise of a better life. The set was a simple and effective design with a clever use of sliding Oriental screens to help with the production, the backdrop was very effective with the changing lighting and mood captured by the glorious vocals.
The beautiful range of Lieutenant Pinkerton( Merunas Vitulskis) captured me from the start, his feelings and truth for wanting to be with Cio Cio confessed to the American Consul to witness the marriage. Pinkerton knows he has to have her, his feelings for his own true future have no regard for his Bride.
The Consul begs him to reconsider and that the Girl deserves better treatment but he cannot convince either party to cancel the wedding.
The story unfolds with a fantastic haunting chorus from Anna Sophie Duprels who plays Cio Cio. Her voice is able to express the story with excitement and happiness at the start to absolute lament and despair. My tears were starting to well up with the scene that depicted Cio-Cio preparing for the return of her Love with the help of her faithful Servant Suzuki (Ann Taylor). They prepare the home throwing petals and flowers to Welcome home their Master and put an end to their poverty. Suzuki is not convinced of the return but she wishes more than anything that her mistress will at last have some happiness. It is an uncomfortable watch knowing that poor Cio Cio will have her heart broken.
The gripping end leaves the audience bewildered on how to feel, Who is more to blame for the plight of a young girl. Her American Husband or her community that didn’t protect her. The audience were very happy with the performance including the Orchestra. The curtain call erupted with Boo’s on the appearance Pinkerton, so they made there feelings clear. An enthralling performance.
Good points – The petal scene, visually beautiful and simple.
Bad points – Tv screens with English subtitles distracting when performance centre stage.