Magazine article Opera Canada

Madama Butterfly: Michigan Opera Theatre

Magazine article Opera Canada

Madama Butterfly: Michigan Opera Theatre

Article excerpt

Familiarity usually breeds contempt, but not for opera fans. Carmen, La boheme and Madama Butterfly are mounted with grinding regularity, but audiences never seem to weary of these warhorses. At a well-attended matinee Nov. 16, Michigan Opera Theatre trotted out another Madama Butterfly at the Detroit Opera House. Despite its obvious box-office appeal, another production of Butterfly still must distinguish itself if it hopes to be lodged in memory.

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This particular Butterfly may not be remembered as one of the greatest, but neither will it soon be forgotten, due in no small part to the performance of Cio-Cio San by American soprano Marie Plette (alternating with Mihoko Kinoshita). Plette has gained attention for her portrayals of Love Simpson in Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree and as Puccini's Japanese heroine. Making her MOT debut, she injected sweet naivete into her role, but it wasn't immediately apparent from her entrance, when she skipped the crowning high D-flat. Yes, the note is optional, but soaring up to and floating the ethereal tone helps inestimably to underscore Butterfly's delicacy and vulnerability. However, Plette soon warmed up, and her volume and range blossomed as the opera unfolded. …

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