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Customer Review

on 29 August 2010
The filming of this Opera directed by Frenchman Frederic Mitterrand is absolutely beautiful. The Bay, the House and scenery look so authentic like a traditional Japanese painting suddenly come alive. Yet it was filmed in Tunisia, and most of the action takes place around the hilltop house, so I suspect that there was a certain economy of setting, in this case less is more. The realism allows the wonderfull Puccini arias to flow like fragrance from the garden, and one of the most lovely film sequences ever must be the procession of Butterfly (Ying Huang) and her female friends and relations to the house to meet Pinkerton (Richard Troxell) on their Spring Wedding Day. Butterfly 15, and a former Giesha carring an orange and yellow parasol wears a mauve kimono printed with white and gold foliage and wooden platform shoes. The others wear similar styles, and her maid Suzuki (Ning Liang) already waiting, wears plain vermillion.
Adding to the realism of this Martin Scorsese presentation is the choice of an American Tenor as Captain Pinkerton, and British Richard Cowan as Sharpless, the Consul. The part of Goro, the liason officer/matchmaker is played by Jing Ma Fan whose often quiet watchfull presence invites us to see the action from a different perspective throughout, a surreptitious MC.
James Conlon directs the Orchestre De Paris, with the Choeurs De Radio France. The sound quality is superb, and all the singing impeccable, with a chioce of subtitles.
A masterly and unexpected stroke is the inclusion of archive black and white footage of the Imperial Japanese Army, and ships in the harbour of Nagasaki. Puccini composed the Opera in 1904,in his Italian lakeside home, with librettist Giuseppe Giaosa, and set it in 1904. The ship may not be the US Abraham Lincoln, but it sets the scene for Pinkerton's return after 3 years with an American wife (Constance Hauman). It is not the 'One Fine Day' that Madam Butterfly dreams of, and suitably her suicide, their sons departure, and their final meeting takes place during a rainstorm, when still with exquisite beauty she dies in his arms.
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Product Details

4.5 out of 5 stars
£32.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime