Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

E Kent ButterflyTraditional production of Madama Butterfly

Madama Butterfly, White Rock Theatre, Thursday 6 February 2020: HOT’s music correspondent Brian Hick attended the single performance of Puccini’s tragic opera last week.

Ellen Kent’s approach to Madama Butterfly is nothing if not traditional. The setting is beautifully crafted and lit, the costumes are comfortably Japanese and the production is undemanding, particularly if you know the work well in the first place.

If this can lead to some uncomfortable moments then they swiftly pass. Pinkerton’s glib assumption that he will marry a ‘real wife in America’ is cheerfully ignored by the Consul  whose problems only really start in the second half when Pinkerton brings his wife with him to Nagasaki.

Vitalii Liskovetskyi brings a naïve, boyish charm to Pinkerton but it is difficult to forgive him for his callousness. Iurie Gisca is splendid as Sharpless, the Consul, adding genuine authority and weight to a presentation which can often seem visually superficial. He is matched by Vadim Cernovettky’s passionate Bonze whose brief explosion clouds the rest of the act.

Alyona Kistenyova presents a strong, and strongly sung Butterfly, Cio-Cio San, happier in the love duet and the final scenes than in the more delicate opening scenes with her family. Myroslava Shvakh-Pekar is an unusually young Suzuki, the voice fully up to part but her appearance disconcerting alongside Cio-Cio San.

The production provides a full orchestra, under the careful guidance of Nicolae Dohotaru and a small but effective chorus.

The company return to Bexhill next year with Tosca and Carmen.

Posted 18:43 Sunday, Feb 9, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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