Madama Butterfly, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto. Oct. 19-31, 2014
The Canadian Opera Company is currently presenting the fourth remount of its beloved production of Madama Butterfly directed by Brian Macdonald and designed by Susan Benson. First staged in 1990, it is a production that never fails to impress. Characterized by simplicity and restraint, it deemphasizes the exoticism inherent in the setting to evoke the timelessness of tragedy. Lead by Patricia Racette in her COC debut, the cast on opening night, with one exception, is superb.
Macdonald and Benson’s concept for the design derives from the discussion between Goro and Pinkerton at the start of the action about the nature of Japanese houses: “Vanno e vengono a prova / a norma che vi giova / nello stesso locale / alternar nuovi aspetti ai consueti” (“They can be moved around however you like so that you can alternate the room design whenever you need a change of scenery.