Off to Grange Park in Hampshire today to play Madame Butterfly, the opening opera of this year’s festival. This is the sixth year of the ECO’s residency at The Grange and our third Puccini production after La Fanciulla del West in 2007 and Tosca in 2010.
An early music violinist friend in the audience of the dress rehearsal the other night commented that nothing much seems to happen in modern opera. Puccini may seem like cutting edge modern if you play Monteverdi and Handel every day! In a way she’s right when it comes to Madame Butterfly as the story is uncomplicated and there’s not a lot of action to dramatise. I wonder, though, if she would have said the same thing had she been to the Grange’s production of Tosca two years ago?
Claire Rutter, who sings Cio-Cio-San this year after her amazing Tosca in 2010, said at the London rehearsals that the great thing about this staging of Madame Butterfly is that it is simple and doesn’t get in the way of the music. And that’s where, in Madame Butterfly, a lot really does happen. Right there in the music.
ECO bassist Paul Sherman @ecobassoholic