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MADAM BUTTERFLY at the London Coliseum

November 24, 2013

The third opera in this season at the London Coliseum was the one I was most looking forward to: Puccini’s MADAM BUTTERFLY. I have already seen a production by the Welsh National Opera at the Hippodrome in Birmingham and I love the modern translation of this story into the musical “Miss Saigon”. However I could not have imagined what a stunning production conceived by the late Anthony Minghella has been revived by Sarah Tipple with Michael Levine’s set design and Peter Mumfort’s lighting. Anthony Minghella was a great hands-on film-maker directing one of my all time favourite movies “The English Patient” and in this opera we can see and feel his epic visual cinematic talent at work.

Many of the traditional aspects of Japanese theatre are a foundation to this production. The art of the Geisha is woven into this production. Most impressive was the Bunraku: the Japanese ancient art of puppetry which is employed to such stunning effect bringing to life a character who draws so much empathy that I could actually feel a hole growing inside my abdomen. Credit to Mark Down the puppetry director of Blind Summit Theatre.

Puccini’s score is an absolute masterpiece and he has written one of the most significant parts in our theatrical history. Dina Kuznetsova an American soprano gave an absolutely outstanding performance. I can’t imagine a more perfect Madam Butterfly. I floated out of the theatre.

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