Argentina Puccini: Madama Butterfly, Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Juventus Lyrica / Antonio Maria Russo (conductor), Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 11.11.2016. (JSJ)
Madama Butterfly – Cintia Velázquez
Pinkerton – Marcelo Gómez
Suzuki – Rocío Arbizu
Sharpless – Ernesto Bauer
Goro – Norberto Lara
Yamadori – Josué Miranda
Bonzo – Mario de Salvo
Kate – María Goso
Director/sets – Ana D’Anna
Costumes – María Jaunarena
Lighting – Gonzalo Córdova
Chorus – Antonio Maria Russo
Juventus Lyrica has brought another successful season to a close with a new production of Madama Butterfly from the company’s founder Ana D’Anna.
As befits the popularity of this work – one of the most popular for today’s audiences – the theatre was full and attentive. Equally that places demands on both directors and cast to ensure that the expectations are lived up to and that no matter how many times one has seen it, it draws the same emotions – and here that was very much the case.
The curtain opens to a scenery that is at once familiar yet different from others. The house, set down from its surroundings, is a simple, split structure, with sliding panels – although we never see into its interior, which remains hidden from view. It is from that height above that the harbour is visible and Butterfly waits her vigil for Pinkerton to return. This space was well used, at no time feeling crowded.
The dress from María Jaunarena also was appropriate as was the careful lighting from Gonzalo Córdova.
From the vocal perspective the role of Butterfly is very demanding as she is on stage for virtually the whole duration. Cintia Velázquez was very much up to the demands with a powerful presence. A bit uneven at first she came into her own in the second act and especially in the more tender moments. Her ‘Un bel di vedremo’ was memorable. She was also a surprisingly forward Butterfly, anxious to kiss her new husband after the wedding.
Marcelo Gómez was equally up to the demands of Pinkerton and well portrayed the proud American sailor for whom the whole affair, despite the obvious depth of feeling, was no more than an interlude. Given Sharpless’s concern about the wedding between Pinkerton and Butterfly, Ernesto Bauer’s portrayal showed little reserve about it, except for the vocal warning – but vocally he is now finding his place and maturing well into the role.
Rocío Arbizu gave a strong and sensitive portrayal of Suzuki but Norberto Lara’s Goro was exaggerated in manner. The other roles were correctly filled.
Antonio Maria Russo conducted with his usual precision and style and under his hand the chorus were well prepared for their interventions, especially the ‘bocca chiusa’ which closes the second act.
With this season closed, preparations are well advanced for the next and will be reported separately.
Jonathan Spencer Jones