Sunday, 11 March 2012

Northern Ballet's Madame Butterfly

I went to see Northern Ballet's Madame Butterfly at the Leeds Grand Theatre last night. 
It was the final performance of this lovely production, which was premiered in Leeds in 2002 and recently had performances in Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham as well as in Beijing last year. In a world full of sadness and problems it was disappointing that this glorious evening of artistry and magic wasn't a sell-out! This version of Madame Butterfly was based on the original Belasco play that inspired Puccini's great opera. The tale of love and infidelity, involves a young geisha who marries Lieutenant Pinkerton, a dashing naval officer, only to be abandoned by him while carrying his unborn child.  The loyal Butterfly awaits her husband’s return, valiantly raising their son alone in a society which has ostracised her.  When Pinkerton eventually returns to Nagaski with his new American wife, to take the child away, Butterfly kills herself.  The dancers were great, the setting lovely and the music glorious. Keiko Amemori, who had a successful career with Northern Ballet between 2001 and 2009, danced the role of Butterfly. The Northern Ballet Sinfonia were wonderful playing a condensed orchestral version of Puccini's wonderful music. They were added to by traditional eastern music and a haunting Japanese aria for the blood-red final scene.

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