Flawed casting in Minghella’s widescreen Butterfly at ENO

Puccini: Madama Butterfly ***

Rena Harms (Cio-Cio San) and Sorrow © Tom Bowles

Rena Harms (Cio-Cio San) and Sorrow
© Tom Bowles

English National Opera, 16th May 2016

Anthony Minghella’s 2005 staging of Madam Butterfly remains a hit with ENO’s audience. A combination of Japanese lacquer and Hollywood gloss make for a stylish production, opulently costumed by Han Feng. Now receiving its sixth revival, it doesn’t always tug at the heartstrings. In the same way the bunraku puppeteers bring Butterfly’s child Sorrow to life, one consciously feels manipulated. Puccini’s music manipulates the emotions too – he was a wily fox – but it’s music that still touches deeply. However, it requires a far better performance of the title role than it received this evening.

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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