Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Madama Butterfly


 Terry got two tickets to see Madama Butterfly's final performance at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Our seats were in the third row which gave me plenty of ambient light to sketch by. From this seat I had a good view of the projections behind the orchestra created by Lisa Buck. The images lap dissolved gently together working as backdrops and symbolic visual cues. It was often like a slow gentle animation. By the time Butterfly began her all night vigil hoping for her lover to return, I had finished my sketch and tucked it away.

At 15 year of age, Butterfly marries an American Naval Lieutenant named B.F. Pinkerton. He abandons her and she later gives birth to his son, whom she names Sorrow. The final act is heart wrenching and beautiful as the Lieutenant, returned with his American Bride. This scene of abandonment and betrayal had Terry wiping tears from her eyes. I looked around to see utter sadness on the faces of audience members around me. This was Terry's review...  "Congratulations to director Robert Swedberg, the Orlando Philharmonic and a fine cast (including Erik Branch and Sarah Purser Bojorquez) on an outstanding performance of Madame Butterfly. The amazing thing is that it didn't feel like concert opera. The simpleness of the setting and the direction made the story and music more powerful for me in a way that it has never been before. The soprano was outstanding with a good range and musicality and acting that drove me (and just about everyone I could see around me) to tears. Seriously, I've seen the opera so many times and I never heard so much in the score before. The music told me more the story and the characters than the words in the super titles did. WOW!!!!!!!!! GREAT JOB!!!!!!!"

Robert Swedberg was the Opera director when Orlando still had an Opera Company. The Opera went bankrupt several years ago. Since then Robert has been directing operas in Michigan and all over the country. He returned to direct this one production and he had to fly back to Michigan immediately after he took a final bow with the cast. His next project is directing an original Opera by Orlando composer Stella Sung called The Red Silk Thread, about Marco Polo.

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