Opera Scotland

Madam Butterfly 2020Amande Concerts

Read more about the opera Madama Butterfly

A welcome return to Scotland

This performance featured in the third visit to Scotland by the Russian State Opera, under the management of Amande Concerts.  This time they were billed as the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Mari El.

However standards were clearly on a par with the previous visits and casts included several familiar artists.  The company seems to have settled on performances at two venues untouched by other touring opera companies: the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline and the Concert Hall in Perth.  Dunfermline saw their Carmen and Madam Butterfly back in 2016, while Carmen appeared in Perth in 2018.  This UK tour concentrates on a new staging of Aïda, while also showing a few performances of CarmenButterfly was given four performances in all, with two of those being the company's only appearances in Scotland.

The Russian Butterfly

A typically fragile looking house dominated the attractive set. The Russian design was slightly small and offset to the left.  This allowed for the insertion of a typically Japanese red wooden footbridge to the right, as well as a backcloth showing the bay of Nagasaki far below and in the distance. Costumes were more attractive than in other current touring versions.

The singing in Perth was generally of good quality.  Good though Elvira Gureva was, she did not always convey the vulnerability of Butterfly. The Pinkertons were effective, as were the Suzukis.  In Perth, Sharpless was less a wily old stager, but played as somewhat younger and less experienced. By contrast the Kate was both particularly attractive and sympathetic.  In this Russian staging, the final curtain seemed effective if somewhat more conventional - Pinkerton was shown to collapse by Butterfly as she expired - no sign of Sharpless or of the child being snatched away, so the focus remained on the drama of the immediate moment

This Butterfly provided a great deal to enjoy.  It was good to see that company drew a packed the Perth hall, when the other favourite Puccini operas, Bohème and Tosca, staged recently at the Perth Festival, attracted much smaller audiences.

Context of the UK tour

The 2020 UK tour opened on Friday, 21 February at Blackburn (King George's Hall), extending to a final appearance on Wednesday, 15 April, at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon.  In total,  Aïda was scheduled for forty performances, with six of Carmen and just the four of Madama Butterfly.  The extensive itinerary concentrated almost entirely on England, with only one night in Wales (Llandudno) and the two in Scotland.  Ireland was omitted completely, with the only sea voyage taking them to Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

The devastating effect on public performances of the Coronavirus pandemic inevitably meant that much of the tour following the Scottish appearances, was unable to take place.

Performance DatesMadam Butterfly 2020

Map List

Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline | Dunfermline

5 Mar, 19.30

Perth Concert Hall | Perth

6 Mar, 19.30

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