Theatre Review: Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House

An astonishing Royal Opera House debut for a young Latvian soprano in MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Madama Butterfly is a great opera and this latest revival of Paul Caurier’s and Moshe Leiser’s 2003 production more than does justice to the tragic tale of love, betrayal and suicide.

All of the cast sing well and, under the baton of Andris Nelson, the orchestra bring colour to Puccini’s dramatic score. But it is Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, making her Royal Opera House debut, who steals the show.

Her beautifully sung and highly emotive portrayal of Cio-Cio-San brought a huge roar of appreciation from the Covent Garden audience. Such was her impact, the audience even booed James Valenti, who was excellent as the dastardly Pinkerton, when he appeared for his curtain call.

Madama Butterfly runs until July 16 but Opolais will make way for two other leading ladies after her performance on July 4. Fortunately, the Royal Opera House is filming that night’s show and broadcasting it live to 18 screens around the UK, including Trafalgar Square, Canary Wharf and Walthamstow Town Square.


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While the big screen might struggle to truly capture her considerable talents, it offers a fantastic opportunity to see and hear Miss Opolais in action. There is no doubt she will be a hot ticket for many years to come.

* Showing at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, WC2, until Saturday, July 16.

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