Thursday, October 30, 2008

Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly (1995) is the Puccini opera presented as a film, directed by Frédéric Mitterrand. It was a bit difficult to sink into the film, with all the dialog in song. The acting was a bit stiff and artificial in the opening of the well-known story. Richard Troxell sings and acts the villain Pinkerton wonderfully, and I loved to HATE him, and felt a bit of understanding, if not pity for him at the tragic end of Butterfly. Ying Huang sang Butterfly beautifully, but her acting at first was quite stiff. Fortunately, she became her character fully by the moving end of the film/opera. Richard Cowan as Sharpless and Ning Liang as Suzuki were both wonderful in their supporting roles.

The sets and setting were gorgeous, but I longed to see the ship sail into the bay, and felt cheated by the bit of old film shown instead. I suppose it was a matter of the budget, but it added to the artificiality of an opera on film, and not in the good way!

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