Third time’s a charm! After our first two opera experiences, (Ghosts of Versailles and The Magic Flute) I wasn’t totally sold on opera, which seems silly since some of my favorite musical theatre shows are sing-thrus (can I hear it for Les Mis?!). I’ll be honest, I only agreed to go this third time in the hopes that we’d maybe score some Founders Circle seats again (see the post on our Magic Flute experience). But boy am I happy to share that I absolutely LOVED Madame Butterfly. So much so that this blog post has two photos!
I don’t know what it is about Butterfly that changed my mind. No, we were not in the Founders Circle again. But from the first moment, I was riveted. I didn’t close my eyes or fall asleep once! The story reminds me of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s Miss Saigon, another musical theatre sing-thru favorite of mine. I’m sure that comparison has been made plenty of times before. This is my first opera experience where I felt like the voices were telling the story. Not the lyrics, but the voices, the music. It’s easy to see why Ana Maria Martinez has played the role of Madame Butterfly countless times before – she was flawless. Her voice swayed and bent with emotion.
The entire cast was strong, vocally and visually. My favorite part was the 3-part duet between Cio-Cio-San, Suzuki and Sharpless (a la “The Confrontation” from Les Mis!). And Madame Butterfly clearly has a cult following, given the number of audience members who came dressed up in kimonos. Two fun anecdotes from the evening – our seat neighbors showed up JUST for act II, and we almost got run over by some rich dude tearing out of the Founders Circle parking garage.
Trevor: Ana Maria Martinez was breathtaking as Madame Butterfly. And the little boy was adorable!