I have always been a fan of Puccini, and Madama Butterfly is one of my favourites of his. As far as Puccini operas go, while I love them all to death, I only prefer Tosca and La Boheme over Madama Butterfly. Madama Butterfly mayn't have the most plausible story in the world of opera, but it has a lot to make up for it including the charming title character in the name of Cio Cio San(aka Madama Butterfy) and especially the music.
The music is absolutely sublime. And this is not just Un Bel Vedremo and the Humming Chorus. I don't know about anyone else but my personal favourite highlight of the opera is the act 1 duet between Cio Cio San and Pinkerton which whenever I listen to or watch Madama Butterfly I watch and listen over and over again and it never loses its magic.
This is a very well done production in a lot of respects. Brian Large's direction is excellent, while the costume and set design are suitably sumptuous perfectly captured by some beautiful camera work. When it comes to the acting and singing I have very little to fault them, Raina Kabaivanska may not fit the bill for Cio Cio San age-wise, but her acting and singing is so exceptional I found it very easy to forgive. In the proceedings we have a dashing Pinkerton, a wonderful Suzuki and a very good Sharpless, so Kabaivanska also has a solid supporting cast.
All in all, very well done. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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