by Giacomo Puccini, staged by Hotel Pro Forma at La Monnaie de Munt, Brussels
After staging Rachmaninov’s three short operas under the common title, Rachmaninov Troika, at La Monnaie, Brussels, in 2015, Hotel Pro Forma got a new opera assignment for the same opera house: Madama Butterfly by Puccini.
Madama Butterfly is known and beloved in the classic opera world. A new interpretation must be found. In Hotel Pro Forma’s staging, Madama Butterfly becomes a ghost story with the Japanese geisha Cio-Cio-San as an old ghost, a storyteller who has to tell her tale over and over.
The singer telling the story sings from the proscenium, while a life size puppet on stage creates a mute construction of her short life. With the puppet’s opportunity of creating stylized expression of emotions and the pure musical performance of the narrating voice, the story’s emotional layers are enhanced.
Other parts of the story’s underlying tones are made visible when black ninjas become threatening ancestors, and when ominous phenomena pop up. Madame Butterfly’s death cannot be changed, but the story takes another twist at the end.
Director Kirsten Dehlholm brings a team of artistic collaborators from Copenhagen to Brussels to stage Madama Butterfly. Among others, co-direction by Jon R. Skulberg, light design by Jesper Kongshaug, costumes by Henrik Vibskov, set design by Maja Ziska. The puppet is directed by Amsterdam based Ulrike Quade Company. Conductors: Roberto Rizzi Brignoli / Bassem Akiki. Choreography: Kenzo Kusada.