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One of San Diego Opera's best productions: Madama Butterfly

Latonia Moore as Butterfly revealed the emotions that imbue Puccini's music.

Madama Butterfly is one of the best productions San Diego Opera has presented in recent years. I might even say it's one of the top five best in the past 15 years.

Madama Butterfly is the full operatic experience at SDO because it will break your heart into a thousand pieces and leave you wondering if it will ever be made whole again. I had misty eyes and a lump in my throat from Butterfly’s entrance in the first act until the curtain went down.

Video:

Madama Butterfly

San Diego Opera Spotlight

San Diego Opera Spotlight

Concerning the conductor, Yves Abel, every single phrase in the show was “right.” There were a few minor choices such as the Humming Chorus becoming the “oo-ing and ah-ing-chorus-with-maybe-half-the-chorus-humming” but the atmosphere it created in the scene was perfect. Perfect, I tell you.

It’s a difficult feeling to express, but the constant feeling of “rightness” permeated the musical elements of the show.

This new set only had one drawback. When singers were downstage and off the set platform the sound was good. If they were on the platform the sound became increasingly hazy as they moved upstage.

With open wings and no solid structures onstage, the voices had nothing helping to direct the sound to the house. What impressed me was the vocal discipline of the cast. They all resisted the temptation to try to pump out more sound. It would have been an exercise in futility had they given in.

Tenor Teodor Ilincăi sang the role of Pinkerton with a healthy dose of mesa di voce. He sang the first act with a mixture of lyricism while letting the top notes fill the hall. This characterized Pinkerton as being a tad more sensitive, and I liked the way it worked with the narrative.

Anthony Clark Evans, as Sharpless, has a gorgeous baritone voice. His “America forever!” in the first act was a perfect note. Perfect, I tell you. The balance and ease in his voice gave me goosebumps. Mr. Evans is an emerging artist who will hopefully be a name we see on SDO programs for years to come.

Latonia Moore as Butterfly was the ideal collaborator with maestro Abel. She and the orchestra revealed the emotions that imbue Puccini's music. The emotions are in the music and she allowed that to happen without forcing the issue.

In the third act, she "got there." The emotions, the music, and the story all came together and created a great moment in opera. Sheer devastation.

The remaining Sunday performance is sold out. You might try to go down and see if anyone is selling an extra ticket in the Civic Plaza but I’m guessing the chances are slim.

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Madama Butterfly is one of the best productions San Diego Opera has presented in recent years. I might even say it's one of the top five best in the past 15 years.

Madama Butterfly is the full operatic experience at SDO because it will break your heart into a thousand pieces and leave you wondering if it will ever be made whole again. I had misty eyes and a lump in my throat from Butterfly’s entrance in the first act until the curtain went down.

Video:

Madama Butterfly

San Diego Opera Spotlight

San Diego Opera Spotlight

Concerning the conductor, Yves Abel, every single phrase in the show was “right.” There were a few minor choices such as the Humming Chorus becoming the “oo-ing and ah-ing-chorus-with-maybe-half-the-chorus-humming” but the atmosphere it created in the scene was perfect. Perfect, I tell you.

It’s a difficult feeling to express, but the constant feeling of “rightness” permeated the musical elements of the show.

This new set only had one drawback. When singers were downstage and off the set platform the sound was good. If they were on the platform the sound became increasingly hazy as they moved upstage.

With open wings and no solid structures onstage, the voices had nothing helping to direct the sound to the house. What impressed me was the vocal discipline of the cast. They all resisted the temptation to try to pump out more sound. It would have been an exercise in futility had they given in.

Tenor Teodor Ilincăi sang the role of Pinkerton with a healthy dose of mesa di voce. He sang the first act with a mixture of lyricism while letting the top notes fill the hall. This characterized Pinkerton as being a tad more sensitive, and I liked the way it worked with the narrative.

Anthony Clark Evans, as Sharpless, has a gorgeous baritone voice. His “America forever!” in the first act was a perfect note. Perfect, I tell you. The balance and ease in his voice gave me goosebumps. Mr. Evans is an emerging artist who will hopefully be a name we see on SDO programs for years to come.

Latonia Moore as Butterfly was the ideal collaborator with maestro Abel. She and the orchestra revealed the emotions that imbue Puccini's music. The emotions are in the music and she allowed that to happen without forcing the issue.

In the third act, she "got there." The emotions, the music, and the story all came together and created a great moment in opera. Sheer devastation.

The remaining Sunday performance is sold out. You might try to go down and see if anyone is selling an extra ticket in the Civic Plaza but I’m guessing the chances are slim.

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Comments
2

Superb performance...I felt so fortunate to be able to see it.

April 24, 2016

The story is devastating; the voices were up to the gorgeous music; but hefty Butterfly did not look like the geisha billed here and this visual dissonance detracted from the experience.

April 25, 2016

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