Madam Butterfly – London Coliseum

One of the highlights of my year so far is when I got tickets for my absolute favourite opera Madam Butterfly. Showing at the London Coliseum in Covent Garden, this was one of the most beautiful shows I have ever seen.

ENO Madam Butterfly, Ayano Honda © Tom Bowles

Anthony Minghella’s Olivier Award-winning production gave a fresh take on Puccini’s unforgettable love story. Last year I saw a different, more traditional version of Madam Butterfly which was also my first opera experience. It was classic opera in every sense and undeniably powerful, but Minghella breaks the opera mold completely.
The production was contemporary and slick, not often words that you would associate with opera. A glorious blend of Japanese costume, performance, dance and props the whole experience had a cinematic feel to it. From the dramatic opening of the Geisha girl silhouette against a bright red backdrop, to the powerful ending, I was transfixed.

ENO Madam Butterfly, Rena Harms and David Butt Philip © Tom Bowles

My favourite moment of the show, after the spine-tingling aria ‘One Fine Day’ which has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written; is the end of Act One. Butterfly and Pinkerton have just got married and a cascade of cherry blossom petals falls in the background whilst figures dressed all in black make white lanterns dance around the couple.

The story of Butterfly patiently and loyally waiting for the return of Pinkerton is one of the most heart-wrenching stories of unrequited love ever told. The emotion that oozed from Butterfly, performed superbly by Rena Harms, gave me goosebumps. A magical production of love and raw emotion told through Puccini’s everlasting music, this is the must-see show of the year and is without a doubt one fine evening.

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