Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday night is also all right for opera

Last night we went to see Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera. I hadn't been to the Met in almost two years, though I'd seen the first act of Butterfly on TV in Times Square last fall. The production was much more impressive on stage than it had been on TV. Despite sitting at the extreme rear of the orchestra, under the balconies, we could see the entire stage and hear every note, which wasn't the case outside in Manhattan's busiest intersection. I was particularly interested in this production because they used a Japanese bunraku puppet to play the part of Butterfly's child. Three puppeteers controlled the puppet, one moving the feet and legs and the two others handling the arms and the head. The puppeteers appeared onstage with the puppet, but once they started interacting with the actors, I barely noticed their presence. While I knew and could clearly see that this was not a child, the performance was so amazing that it was hard not to think of the puppet as a real person. The entire production was beautiful and tragic, and I have to admit the room got a little dusty at the end. I didn't know this opera that well before last night, but I think I need to buy a recording of it. It was a fantastic evening.

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