Last night I spent a glorious couple of hours engulfed if the most exquisite sounds I have possibly ever experienced, in the form of Ellen Kents Madama Butterfly featuring the Ukrainian opera & ballet Theatre Kyiv.
This was my first opera, and being the last on my list of theatre genre’s to tick off, I was so excited, having grown to adore the ballet. I guess theatre is like food the more you do the more your palate changes? Thus, I expected the opera to deliver the same or similar experience and feelings. However the opera and Madama Butterfly is a million miles away from the feelings the ballet evokes.
Which was surprising as many pieces of music and composers cross over. My first Ballet was Manon, also composed by Puccini. But how different two forms of art can be?
What You Will Find Here
Review, Madama Butterfly 2023 UK Tour Manchester
What Is Madama Butterfly About?
When 15 year old Japanese girl Cio-Cio San (Elena Dee) agrees to marry American Navy Lieutenant B.F Pinkerton (Vitalii Liskovetskyi) she believes he will be her lifelong love. Even perhaps the with the promise of life in America once his deployment ends.
She believes this so strongly she abandons her families local customs and beliefs. Thus resulting in them disowning and outcasting her.
However Pinkerton, an obnoxious man, against the advice of the American Consulate Sharpless (Olexandr Forkushak) see’s Madama Butterfly as a distraction whilst in Nagasaki. Planning to return to the USA and marry for real. He has no regard for her age or fragility and puts her in a long term rental home with maid Suzuki (Natalia Matveeva) and abandons them.
If you have seen Miss Saigon then you will recognise that Madama Butterfly is the opera in which the musical Miss Saigon is based, yet they are also so different in experience.
Madama Butterfly feels almost calm, despite the fact of it being a harrowing story of a young girl being used and pushed aside. Having said that its also powerful, and strong, so strong you feel the excitement, hope and eventually pain of Cio-Cio San. The music engulfs you!
The set is simple and doesn’t change, the aroma of incense floated though the auditorium to make you feel part of the stage. Also the stunning music and lighting emphasised the changes of light and season.
Everything about Madama Butterfly focuses on the power and beauty of the voice. There was nowhere to hide, no distractions just one focal point in one set for the whole performance. Yet it kept me captivated throughout.
The screen translating the words was a great addition for some, yet I don’t feel I needed it. After finding quite distracting in the first half, I chose not to look at it for act two and felt the music more deeply which in turn told the story beautifully.
The whole cast and orchestras performance was truly stunning, it’s something special to feel wrapped in such beauty for any length of time. But two hours despite the sad connotations of the story felt almost uplifting.
Where Can I See The Madama Butterfly Tour
You can also see Madama Butterfly on the following dates.
- Sunderland Empire, Sat 25 Feb 2023
- Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Thu 27 Apr 2023
- New Victoria Theatre, Woking, Sat 6 May 2023
- Theatre Royal Brighton, Wed 26 Apr 2023
- The Alexandra, Birmingham, Thu 20 Apr 2023
- New Wimbledon Theatre, Tue 2 May 2023
- Edinburgh Playhouse, Fri 10 Feb 2023
- Grand Opera House York, Sat 4 Feb 2023
- New Theatre Oxford, Fri 3 Mar 2023
Please note I was gifted these tickets in return for an honest review.