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Colin Joseph Carmelo Smart from Newcastle Upon Tyne,
A BRILLIANT PRODUCTION
I have no time for those who go to the opera to be awed by the sets, the size of the chorus and orchestra and forget that opera is about communicating emotions through voice. I have viewed productions at the Royal Opera House London live and cinema relay and several productions on relay from the Met and dvd and for once we were able to experience credible looking, acting and singing leads at a price from a one day at a time an opera touring company which makes use of local as well as International resources and which received one of the most positive response from the Saturday night audience at the Sunderland Empire. Those of now used to seating in refurbished cinemas find the seating cramped and difficult to get in and out but the view across the stage from one end row at the side with no one sitting next was better than past Riyal Opera House. Ice creams at £4 excessive but on a very cold night the coffee was suitably hot.
Andy Mackay from Brighton,
HUGELY ENJOYABLE BUT SOMEHOW SLIGHTLY LACKING
This is the sixth performance of Madam Butterly I have seen and it’s was good, but by no means great. Don’t misunderstand me, it was hugely enjoyable, still made me tear up in all the right places and I left feeling like I’d been through the wringer, however there were a few bits that just left me feeling like it’s been a long tour for this production. Butterfly herself was good vocally and certainly delivered the best acting performance I have ever seen for the role (if you place value in such things) but at times I felt like some of the singing from various characters was ‘just clocking in’ rather than coming from the depths of the soul and the humming chorus was hummed so quietly that my non-opera loving wife didn’t even realise that it was being hummed at all. Certainly didn’t leave disappointed but somehow felt like I’d been served slightly small portions.
Stephanie Turner from London, England
CHARMING MME BUTTERFLY
Sad to see such negative reviews for a production that I thought was West End standard singing on a provincial budget. It’s easy to sneer at the set but my friend and I thought it rather lovely, especially considering this is a whistle-stop UK tour of one-night stands. Madame Butterfly conveyed such innocence and fragility that when taking bows at the end the American Pinkerton was booed for his dastardly treatment of her - rightly so! The female chorus was lovely but it has to be said the male chorus performed as if they’d just been plucked from the street. If this company decides to perform in Wimbledon again I would definitely go - it’s nice to support small productions with big ideas.
Mike Hutchby from Derbyshire
A VALIANT EFFORT
This is a challenging role met with a valiant effort. Well done Madama. The cast did well. But there are some buts. The set was reminiscent of the entrance to a garden centre bedecked with plastic flowers and the hut placed centre stage left the performers with little space to perform. It was reminiscent of a Carry On movie. Just terrible. The baby boy blindfolded and holding an American flag also struck a jarring and eerie note in today’s world. The most notable event of the evening however was the booing at curtain call for Pinkerton. A rich American trampling the world and running off with the spoils was not well received. How things are changing.
Pv from London, England
We were so looking forward to seeing this production of Madame Butterfly but as soon as the curtain went up and you saw the set and already we were alarmed. The set looked like a cheap B and Q foyer with a large hut central to the stage. The drama was essentially about how many times they could open and close the sliding doors. Very cheap production, terrible lighting, cheap costumes and terrible direction that there was laughter at times there shouldn’t have been. So disappointing, an exercise in how not to put on a production of such a well loved opera.
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