MADAMA BUTTERFLY – National Theatre Live – South Holland Centre, Spalding
We may not have been in the Royal Opera House on Thursday evening but we feel we had the privileged view. We could see the orchestra in the pit and the marvellous conductor Antonio Pappano as he worked his magic.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Japanese tragedy, B F Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the US Navy, appears to have almost inherited a bride along with his new house in Japan. Pinkerton is first enthralled by the exotic nature of his new bride, but within three years has returned to the US to a ‘real’ American wife.
Madama Butterfly is meant to be a 15-year-old and when Ermonela Jaho first appeared on stage I was concerned she clearly looked far older than that, particularly in her white makeup. However, that concern was forgotten as she sang, particularly the hauntingly beautiful One Fine Day. Her performance was incredibly moving.
I have seen Madam Butterfly on the stage in London, and the setting was particularly beautiful. The version we saw in Spalding was described as a ‘pared down’ production, with all the action taking place in Butterfly’s room. I can honestly say I was far more moved on Thursday, mainly thanks to Butterfly’s performance.