Magazine article Opera Canada

Madama Butterfly

Magazine article Opera Canada

Madama Butterfly

Article excerpt

Two seasons after staring bankruptcy in the face, L'Opera de Montreal has regained its status as a civic treasure. While a big success with Madama Butterfly might not seem newsworthy, the fact that the company took care to mount an ambitious rather than routine version of the Puccini warhorse May 24 is evidence of the transformation. The production was from Opera Australia, with which OdeM has a close relationship. It was stripped down but still verifiably Japanese, with rectangular door and window frames. Projections on top suggested water, and the whole set became a planetarium during the love duet and Butterfly's nighttime vigil. Veiled mutes haunted the stage like ghosts, functioning either as servants or as agents of fate. Still, austere as it was, the set focused attention on Hiromi Omura, the Japanese soprano making her North American debut in the title role. What a coup for the company. Her voice is big and lustrous, her acting intelligent and natural. Rarely has "Un bel di" been integrated so seamlessly into the dramatic fabric of the opera. Montreal-born mezzo Annamaria Popescu handsomely supported Omura with a sonorous and realistic Suzuki. …

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