You Review: Madama Butterfly

Nadia Koval reports from Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires

You Review: Madama Butterfly

The difference between the Northern and Southern hemispheres is not only opposing seasons, but different theatre seasons as well. When the Northern season is just beginning, the Southern one has come to the end. Thus, the Argentinean Teatro Colón has just closed its 2014 season with Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

Many years ago, Japanese soprano Miura Tamaki, the ‘original’ Butterfly, wrote about the incongruence between reality and Puccini’s representation of Madama Butterfly within the world of Orientalism. In spite of that, the work remains among the most revered operas. First of all, it is appreciated for marvelous music. As for me, every time I see this opera, I secretly believe Pinkerton is not a complete opportunist and cynic as is often thought. Properly, tenor Enrique Folger (Pinkerton) transmitted illustrious romantic feelings in the love duet and during the final act. Folger is the owner of a fine voice, but sometimes he puts too much pressure on it.

Soprano Monica Ferracani (Butterfly, pictured above) reached one of her most brilliant performances, both vocally and dramatically, without falling into clichés and easy mannerisms. Mezzo-soprano Alejandra Malvino (Suzuki) deserves praise too, for a careful and coherent interpretation. Baritone Alejandro Meerapfel (Sharpless) was correct, although a dash below the level reached by the aforementioned artists.

The orchestra, led by maestro Ira Levin, crafted a solid performance. Perhaps a more subtle interpretation might be expected, particularly in the first act, to create the transparent leitmotif identifying Butterfly. The set by Hugo De Ana was combined with video projections, transparencies, and mobile cultural props that brought a special climate to each scene; although, in my opinion, the performers were overloaded with garlands during the flower duet.

 When I was leaving the theatre, I was met by heavy rain and wind, which only added the emotions I was feeling from Butterfly's the tragic story.


Nadia Koval, Buenos Aires



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