Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam
On Tuesday evening (6 March 2018) I went with my husband to The Lowry theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester to watch Opera North’s Madama Butterfly.
Puccini’s famous opera is set in Nagasaki, Japan and tells the story of an innocent young Japanese girl Cio-Cio San, who falls in love with Lieutenant Pinkerton, an American naval officer, not realising that this is only a temporary arrangement. Madama Butterfly has always been a firm favourite of mine, so I was delighted to have the chance to watch it once again.
Cio-Cio San renounces her religion and her family and devotes herself to being an American wife. When Pinkerton is recalled to America, he promises Cio-Cio San that he will return in the spring. Three years later she is left alone and destitute with only her maid and her young son for company, as her family want nothing to do with her. She has received many proposals of marriage, but her heart stays true to Pinkerton. When Pinkerton finally returns to Japan, he brings his new American wife with him, which then leads to a tragic finale.
This spellbinding show is directed by Tim Albery. The set and costumes are exquisite, and I was totally captivated by the magnificent performances by French soprano Anne-Sophie Duprels as Cio-Cio San and Lithuanian tenor Merunas Vitulskis as Pinkerton. Ann Taylor is equally spectacular as Suzuki, Cio-Cio San’s faithful maid.
The opera was performed in Italian with English subtitles, which made it easy for people who were unaware of the storyline to follow the plot. The highlights for me were listening to the beautiful Humming Chorus and Cio-Cio San’s haunting rendition of Un Bel Di, which she sang whilst waiting in vain for her lover to return and moved me to tears.
I absolutely loved everything about this wonderful performance, which is ideal for die-hard opera fans and novices alike. If you get the chance to see this production, you really must go. Opera North have spectacularly succeeded in bringing this amazing opera to the stage.
Tickets cost from £10 to £60 (booking fees may apply).
Opera North’s Madama Butterfly is at The Lowry in Manchester from 6-8 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000