Madama Butterfly, an intimate opera for a great theatre
20 May 2017 Share

Madama Butterfly, an intimate opera for a great theatre

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This year Madama Butterfly by Franco Zeffirelli (2004) is brought on stage for the fourth time. Five different versions have been performed in the history of the Arena: Beni Montresor (1978 e 1997), Giulio Chazalettes (1983), Renata Scotto (1987), Paolo Miccichè (1999) –

The  95° Opera Festival presents  Madama Butterfly in the version that Franco Zeffirelli directed in 2004. This version was staged also in 2006, 2010 and 2014. The eye of the director and stage designer from Florence sets the main character in the geisha district of Nagasaki, with location and human details of cinematic taste. Equally unique were the previous versions. In 1978, when Madama Butterfly debuted in the Arena, the veronese director and stage designer Beni Montresor set the geisha’s residence in a death house, with few frills, to put on stage «a one character story, a long lonely cry of love». Very innovating and with a great scenic impact, the 1987 version by the soprano Renata Scotto and stage designer Ferruccio Villagrossi lays on the stone steps, behind the shoji a massive fan. The Butterfly of 1997 is again by Montresor. The loneliness and tragedy of the unfortunate girl are expressed through a minimalist stage design, where every oriental frill is cleared off to give way to the white colour. A three-dimensional Puccini is performed in 1999 by Daniela Dessì in the role of Cio-Cio-San. a sophisticated setting by  Antonio Mastromattei and Patrick Watkinson, who designed the stage and the images. Moving images of flower patterns and landscapes were projected onto a huge screen (500 square meters) on the steps. Almost a bonbonniere the Butterfly performed in 1983, by  Giulio Chazalettes, remembered for the prestigious presence of Simonetta Puccini.

Francesca Saglimbeni

Top photo: 1999, Arena, Madama Butterfly, Daniela Dessì, Salvatore Licitra (Photo Fainello, Fondazione Arena)

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