One of the world's most celebrated operas, Madame Butterfly has been performed across decades, yet its current run at the Dallas Opera manages to give it new life. Puccini's tear-jerking classic has been a favorite at the Dallas Opera, now running in its 11th company incarnation, but even now it seems fresh and invigorating. For those unfamiliar with the story or new to opera, this is a performance not to be missed, showcasing the best of a classic and the perfect gateway into opera. Performances continue this month on March 15, 18, 24, and 26, with tickets starting at $19.
Opera veterans and newcomers alike are drawn into this tragic love story through stage direction by John Copley and conduction by Donato Renzetti. The set, originally created for the San Francisco Opera by Michael Yeargan, is minimalist yet diverse, sliding walls changing the expansive space in the first act to Butterfly's self-imposed prison in the second and third acts. Yeargan's turn-of-the-century costumes in earth tones provide a grounded reference point to Buttefly's wedding kimono, a brightly embroidered beauty setting her apart from the crowd.
Madame Butterfly is revitalized through Chinese soprano Hui He, delivering a performance simultaneously powerful and delicate. Casting an age appropriate singer at 15 years old is impossible for this role, but He excels in her portrayal, first as the young and naïve girl in romantic bliss, then as the helpless romantic battling reality before finally succumbing to it. Her thrilling performance is a well-suited match to spinto tenor Gianluca Terranova's Pinkerton. His performance as the clueless naval officer was excellent, his voice emphasizing his passionate yet apathetic feelings towards Butterfly.
Baritone Lucas Meachem's portrayal of American Consul, Sharpless, is a distant father figure, his powerful voice providing warnings that continuously fall on deaf ears. Mezzo-soprano Manuela Custer's robust chest voice lends Suzuki the strength to support Butterfly's tragic fate throughout the performance.
Reginald Smith, Jr. is truly terrifying as Butterfly's imposing uncle, his magnificent yet short time on stage accentuated Butterfly's pain and rejection.
I highly recommend catching at least one performance of this memorable run, it was everything one would expect of a great opera; heartbreaking, beautiful, and powerful. This was a performance you won't soon forget, and an incredible experience for your first opera. Click here for ticket and time info, and let me know what you thought about it after you visit here.
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