Puccini's Madama Butterfly

« previous episode | next episode »

Friday, January 31, 2014

A scene from Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly.' A scene from Puccini's "Madama Butterfly." (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Saturday at 1pm: Anthony Minghella's production of Madama Butterfly returns to the Met with the rising South African soprano Amanda Echalaz making her company debut in the title role. 

Mingella's production debuted with English National Opera in 2005, and traveled to the Metropolitan Opera the following year. It's since become a company staple, known for its visual richness (with bold colors and a use of puppets), but a strong cast is also essential.

This week's lineup includes Brian Hymel as the American naval lieutenant Pinkerton and Echalaz in the role of the former Japanese geisha.  American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong is Cio-Cio San's servant Suzuki. French maestro Philippe Auguin, who serves as music director of Washington National Opera, conducts. 

Cast:

Conductor: Philippe Auguin
Cio-Cio-San: Amanda Echalaz
Suzuki: Elizabeth DeShong
Pinkerton: Bryan Hymel
Sharpless: Scott Hendricks

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [9]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

AMANDA ECHALAZ as CIO-CIO-SAN is super expressive with her voice timbre, word nuancing and vocal potentials presaging a big career. I am performing and recording onto DVDs "The 300 Greatest Love Songs of Broadway Musicals, the Movies and the Grammys." Their relewase date is upcoming soon. I am an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] and the director at the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute of Boonton, NJ. where I teach voice and train artists in all the Wagner and Shakespeare roles. One may hear my singing LIVE from the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL, in four solo concerts by downloading, FREE, 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have sung there by going to RECORDED SELECTIONS on my websites www.WagnerOpera.com,www.ShakespeareOpera.com and www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor. I will sing the four song cycles that are most often performed in their orchestral garb:the complete Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder," the complete Mahler's "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen," the tenor's music in Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" and Waldemar's music in Schoenberg's "Gurre-Lieder" at the New Life Expo at the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC on Saturday March 22nd at 6 PM. I have sung four three-hour-long solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall including programming the Wagner and the first named Mahler song cycle. One may hear my singing LIVE from the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL, four solo concerts by downloading, FREE, 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have sung there by going to RECORDED SELECTIONS on my websites www.WagnerOpera.com,
www.ShakespeareOpera.com and www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com

Feb. 01 2014 05:05 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I was taken by complete surprise. I was so overcome I was actually in tears two times, and the full score got blurry. Butterfly I thought got better and better and in Act I; and Act II parts 1 and 2 were superb. Pinkerton just overwhelmed me, pouring out reasonance and ardor. Sharpless was simpathetic and prescient, his essential qualities. Suzuki was excellent, but I quibble about pronouncing the god's name,"Ten-Sjo-o-daj". I heard "Ten-So-Dye" --- I could be misktaken ---but I've always heard "Ten-Seeo-Dye". Finalmente! Finally! A completely uncut Madama Butterly! Usually, in Act I, 27 bars with Goro and the relatives are cut, followed by another 13 bars with the relatives including Butterfly's Mother, Aunt and Cousin; but, happily, the cuts were opened completely. If this is a result of the production, well, so be it. I think the pantomimes as described are superfluous...especially before Act I, since Puccini starts "in medias res" with a fugato allegro. However, all those fortunate enough to see this production in person, I envy. I thought the pacing for Act I was sometimes slower than my sensibility resonates with, but the Orchetra's playing throughout was beautiful and the chorus enchanting and horror-stricken,as appropriately called for. The Maestro was evidently very much in charge. For me, the horns and trumpets and trombones just weren't loud enough throughout, for a reason I'll never know. I won't comment on the use of the puppets since I didn't see them, listening at full room volume to WQXR through audio components from my internet connection.

Feb. 01 2014 04:42 PM
Thrilled to hear it from Va.


Amanda Echalaz is fantastic. No weakness anywhere while never over powering. Just Perfection. I wish I could have been there. Glad to have heard her on the radio. Breath taking performance.

Bravo!! Bravissimo!!!!

Feb. 01 2014 04:20 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Have always felt sorry for whoever sang the part of Sharpless especially if was a live wire like Leo Nucci. What a thankless boring role. This holds true for Papa Germont. I have a dvd with Leo Nucci as Papa. He gave dignity to the role, too much dignity.

Feb. 01 2014 03:01 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Beduzzo, I am well. Do not remember this cold a winter in quite some time but I am OK and hope all is well with you.
Have grown a little tired of this opera but the ending still chokes me up.
Stay well.

Feb. 01 2014 01:55 PM
beachsiggy from NYC

I didn't like the puppet at first, but as you watch him, especially from up close, he really grows on you. At moments the puppet is more expressive and like a real child than the real child tends to be when the production uses a real child. I was lucky enough to see the production from various parts of the house a number of times. I was genuinely surprised to find myself loving the little guy

Feb. 01 2014 01:24 PM
Madison from Manhattan

The puppet is not only distracting and perverse looking, it's inexcusably ugly!

Feb. 01 2014 01:01 PM

CBC I hope this frigid weather has treated you kindly. I don't like this production - the pantomime, THE PUPPET !!!!! Have we exhausted all the young boys or maybe we should present an entire opera with pupppets - The Met would save money.

Feb. 01 2014 12:25 PM
Cecilia Rosevalt from Danbury, CT

Birthday gift from my daughter, we'll be there!

Feb. 01 2014 08:09 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.