I am now familiar with the Met’s production of Madam Butterfly having seen it in the two previous seasons and I wrote about it here last year. The performance was overshadowed by the death of its director, Anthony Minghella, in March this year. Like Baz Luhrmann, he was able to create an opera production which was both undeniably modern and true to the spirit of the work at the same time. This Madam Butterfly is well paced, visually exciting and was again beautifully sung. The first time I saw it I was entranced by the Chilean soprano Christina Gallarda-Domas in the title role, and she returns in 2009, but on this occasion Patricia Racette was a fine Butterfly. Pinkerton was Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, in for Robert Aronica, who was ill. Mr. Giordani is here to sing Faust in The Damnation of Faust. He not only added Pinkerton but also sang both roles in the one day on Saturday when I saw his Faust at the matinee. The New York Times which, in happy contrast to papers I can think of, provides an interesting coverage of what goes on here, reported this and added:
In a statement, Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said, “Marcello Giordani is a wonderful artist but also the iron man of tenors.”
The Act 1 duet was excellent, but I would have liked more real remorse from him at the end; but iron men probably don’t cry.
Sharpless, the consul was Dwayne Croft. I think there is more in the character than he was able to find. Suzuki was sung, as last year, and the year before by Maria Zifchak. It comes as no surprise that she is asked to return as she is perfect in the role.
Patrick Summers, a regular visitor to Opera Australia, conducted the Met orchestra. It was a very lyrical performance, downplaying the melodrama, but complementing the design and flow of the production perfectly.
The 826th Metropolitan Opera Performance of Madama Butterfly, Wednesday 19 November 2008 at 8pm.