Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Opera: My perspective (Madame Butterfly)

I popped my opera cherry this weekend. Thanks to a craft friend (Kirsten Miller) I got hold of a couple of tickets to see Madame Butterfly at Leeds Grand Theatre on Saturday night. I felt very sophisticated, I did my hair in a massive up do, and a lady liked it so much she gave me a bottle of perfume (sample size, but still...)

Leeds Grand Theatre - glamorous

I didn't know the story in advance (even though I have several ABRSM exams, GCSE, A level and a degree in Music, topped off with three years experience of working in a classical music shop). 

It's classic story that could be watched in any area and it would be understood the same.  Boy promises girl things. Boy leaves but says he'll return. Girl waits. Girl's friends say he isn't coming back. Girl trusts what she was told, knowing the intimacy of the relationship that they don't, and believes he will return.  Man has met someone else.  The story gets a whole lot sadder, I just wished someone had told poor Butterfly that you have to kiss a lot of frogs (that's what people tell me...?)

Here's the best bit (~4 mins)

What's happening here then? This is the big aria from Madame Butterfly. She's waiting, three years later, for her husband to return. Her maid has just said to her 'Look love, get a grip, he's been gone three years. If he was coming back he would have by now'. She's singing 'He will do, and when he does I'll stand here waiting for him, it's going to be beautiful, stop being cynical, he loves me, you're just jealous'.

Later on the guy returns, only because he found out Butterfly had a baby, and his appearance is only to take the child. She ends up killing herself. I expect it was down to the shame that she had given up her identity for the guy, and couldn't bear all her friends saying 'told you!'.

She wasn't the first and won't be the last to be charmed and left high and dry.  It's just a shame she didn't have a best mate to get her drunk and encourage her to strip singing 'Sisters are doing it for themselves'.

I will definitely be Opera North's new regular... the caramel and hazlenut ice cream at intermission was dreamy!

Can you recommend an opera for me to go to?


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