MADAMA BUTTERFLY remains one of the most beloved Puccini operas – and one of his most difficult works for contemporary directors as it touches topics such as colonialism and male dominance. Kirsten Dehlholm, founder of the Danish artistic collective Hotel Pro Forma, talks about her vision for a modern approach to the opera and its heroine.
Cio-Cio-San becomes an old ghost, a storyteller who is fated to tell her tale over and over again, in La Monnaie’s new MADAMA BUTTERFLY. The Danish collective Hotel Pro Forma, known for their stunning theatrical productions, present their new take on the beloved Puccini classic.
’If I am not moved, if the libretto does not touch my heart... then it’s not for me.’ Puccini knew what he was looking for in an opera libretto, and the fact that the story of a delicate Japanese ‘butterfly’ moved him deeply is apparent in every note of the score. The young Japanese girl Cio-Cio-San has been waiting for years for the return of her American ‘husband’, the naval officer Pinkerton. When she finally grasps the truth, her fate is sealed and she takes the action that her code of honour imposes.
MADAMA BUTTERFLY marked a new phase in Puccini’s development, in which he enriched his musical palette with the exoticism of the Far East. The fact that his direct emotionality contains a universal dimension is clear from the lasting worldwide popularity of this work.
Hotel Pro Forma brings East and West together in a theatrical ritual for our time: Puccini’s classic tale becomes a traditional Japanese ghost story, combining the narrative structure of the ritual Noh theatre and the artistic puppetry of the Bunraku.
Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, a master of the Italian repertoire, makes his debut at La Monnaie. Alexia Voulgaridou sings Cio-Cio-San, a role she has embodied at some of the most renowned opera houses of the world: the Hamburg State Opera, the Sydney Opera House, the New National Theatre Tokyo, the Royal Opera House London – and now at La Monnaie in Brussels.