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Madama Butterfly

Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Production photo courtesy of Warwick Arts Centre.

Madama Butterfly, Opera International, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry. Thursday 25 April 2024, one night only.

Review by Ann Cee: 


Beautiful, loving, loyal Cio-Cio San (Elena Dee) drew tears of sorrow from the crowd last night as she approached her heartbreaking resolution in Puccini’s oft copied opera, Madama Butterfly.

She felt she was taking the kindest, most loving path in circumstances she could not have imagined ever happening.  How could the love of her life, a man she had given up everything for, not move heaven and earth to be by her side?

In isolation and loneliness, she nursed her hopes and treasured her dreams, accompanied only by her trusted maid, the wonderful Suzuki (Natalia Matvieieva).

Be transported to Nagasaki. Production photo courtesy of Warwick Arts Centre.

Cio-Cio San’s hero, but also the villain of the piece, is naval officer, BF Pinkerton (Georgi Meladze).  An ardent and affectionate lover, and not a bad man, but ultimately a man who does not respect the care he elicits, and he becomes the source of deep sorrow for those who love him.

Pinkerton’s friend and US Consul, Sharpless (Vitalii Cebotari) does his best to be kind to everyone involved but there is no easy negotiation that will resolve this tragedy of human affection and cross- cultural love.

In the setting of a Japanese garden. Production photo courtesy of Warwick Arts Centre.

The Ukrainian Opera company did a fine job of transporting us into a charming setting for this story to be told, the essence of a period Japanese home and garden was created with a Buddha shrine, water feature and sliding paper doors.  We were present in Nagasaki for the evening.


The orchestra, conducted by Vasyl Vasylenko, expertly steered the story through the intensification of hope, fear, duty and heartbreaking sadness and regret.The evening closed with a stirring rendition of the Ukrainian National Anthem.


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