Monday, February 3, 2014

Here is A Reason to Visit New York this Spring

The Metropolitan Opera is staging a production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly.  The Production Director is Anthony Minghella who has pioneered the use in opera of the traditional art of Japanese puppetry known as Bunraku.  In Bunraku characters as well as inanimate objects are manipulated by puppeteers.  The puppeteers are dressed entirely in black.  The puppeteers are masters who virtually disappear behind their animated puppets.  Pucinni's opera calls for the appearance on stage of Butterfly's three year old son, the love child she bore to American Naval officer Pinkerton.  The child;s role is demanding, set in scenes with his mother of great passion, excitement and sorrow.  The tender scene at the end of Act II requires the child to sit absolutely still for seven minutes. For the child,  Minghella has cast a puppet created by the American Blind Summit Theater.  I heard the production broadcast live from the Met on Saturday.  During the intermission I listened to an interview with Amanda Echalaz singing in her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cio-Cio San (Madam Butterfly).  She praised the puppet's performance, comparing it favorably to her previous performances of the opera with a live child actor.  Here is a link to images of the boy-puppet used in this and earlier Minghella productions.  I am wishing I could make a trip to New York.  The schedule for "Madama Butterfly" at the Met runs through Jun 9.

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