Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

One beautiful evening

Madam Butterfly

Opera & Ballet International

New Alexandra Theatre

****

GIFTED producer Ellen Kent has been bringing operas to the UK for 23 years, and this must be one of her best.

Puccini’s Madam Butterfly certainly thrilled a large Sunday night audience, many of whom left the theatre wiping tears from their eyes after the dramatic finale.

This particular production scored highly because the two leads looked the part – not always the case in operas where voices tend to rule over appearance – and Korean Elena Dee proved the perfect Cio-Cio San (Madam Butterfly).

The beautiful soprano sang superbly, while handsome Georgian, Giorgi Meladze, filled the role of American naval officer, Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton, so well there were even some boos at the curtain call for the man who loved, married and abandoned the 15 year-old Japanese girl in Nagasaki.

The haunting story features the famous Humming Chorus, the moving aria One Fine Day and the Love Duet, with the music impressively played by the orchestra of the National Opera & Ballet Theatre of Moldova, conducted by Nicolae Dohotaru

A powerful performance as the US Consul, Sharpless, was given by Vladimir Dragos, with Zarui Vardanean an excellent Suzuki, Butterfly’s loyal maid.

A fine set and costumes added to the enjoyment.

Paul Marston 

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