Magazine article Opera Canada

Madama Butterfly: Puccini

Magazine article Opera Canada

Madama Butterfly: Puccini

Article excerpt



Barker, Thompson, Keen, Stillwell


Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus of the Netherlands Opera/Edo de Waart, conductor. Robert Wilson, stage director; Misjel Vermeiren, video director

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch

Opus Arte: OA 0937D (2 DVDs/169 minutes). Includes a 24-minute documentary about Wilson's production

Director/designer Robert Wilson remains one of the most original minds working in theatre today. The New York Times has described him as "a towering figure in the world of experimental theatre and an explorer in the uses of time and space onstage."

Wilson came to the attention of the international music community in 1976, when he collaborated with composer Philip Glass on Einstein on the Beach, regarded by many as the most influential opera of the post-war period. Since then, he has gone on to stage a number of more traditional operatic works, including Wagner's Lohengrin and Parsifal, Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten, Mozart's Die Zauberflote, Gluck's Alceste, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande and Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

Wilson's theories on directing, set design and lighting are uniquely his own, and the results transcend theatrical convention. His productions are stripped bare of any artifice. Everything is reduced to its essential elements. Performers work on an almost bare stage. Movement is precisely choreographed and often static. Gesture and movement are stylized. Props are scarce. …

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