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Subject: Re: Butterfly Broadcast from the Met on WQXR
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 8 Mar 2018 11:35:29 -0500
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The only trouble with you and Bob K. connecting the puppet
to historic Japanese theatrics, is that it was the farthest thing
from Puccini's mind when he was inspired by David Belasco's
play, especially the scene of the all night vigil, during which
audiences sat spellbound for 14 silent minutes, waiting,. with Cio
cio san, for the sun to rise.  This is the principal reason why no
curtain should come down after the Humming chorus.  I wonder
if bringing it down before the chorus would work?  I never saw a
live child, fidgety or not, waving his or her American flag, who
wasn't an intensely moving part of that scene.

P.S. It took Belasco less than two months to create and produce
a play based on Long's short story, during which time, we may be
sure, he consulted no Japanese staging traditions.

dtmk


On Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 10:38 AM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'm with Bob on this one.  The first couple of times I saw the Minghella
> production, the puppets annoyed me no end.  The puppet was creepy and
> reminded me of a Chucky doll and the puppeteers of the grim reaper.  About
> the third or fourth time I saw this production I began to see it in a
> different light, the pantomime and movements made sense and even the ugly
> little puppet started to grow on me to the point I actually began to see
> him as kind of cute.  Mind you if I had a kid who looked like that....  At
> the end, the addition of bunraku worked for me, isolated the story in a
> place in time, a Japan that no longer exists (if it ever did) and in the
> context of this production, makes perfect sense.
>
> Butterfly and Fanciulla are still the only two operas that bring tears to
> my eyes.
>
> Donald
>
> On Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 7:41 AM, Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > >    Was kind of embarrassed to publicly state that I saw those "Chucky"
> > > movies.  My two nephews used to like it when I took them to see horror
> > > movies and I did.  The "puppet" in the current Met production of
> > > "Butterfly" actually makes me physically ill. I find it grotesque and
> > > simply unwatchable.
> >
> > Different strokes for different folks.  I've never seen one of those
> > Chucky movies.  But in high school we had to study Chinese opera,
> Japanese
> > No plays, and most importantly, Bunraku. Thus, by the time my classmates
> > and I were 16 (this would be 1971), we were exposed to theater
> traditions.
> >
> > When I saw the Met's Butterfly, it made perfect sense.  In fact, I came
> > away slightly pensive because I felt the puppeteers made the child much
> > more engaging and sympathetic than any child actor could ever accomplish.
> >
> > If you're still disgusted by the puppet - and assuming that you want to
> > change your attitude rather than continue to enjoy being disgusted by the
> > puppet - perhaps the solution is to search "Bunraku" on YouTube (I get
> > 30,000 hits) and learn something about this significant theater
> tradition.
> >
> >
> > Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
> > Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
> > blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/44   Twitter: @kos2
> > Listowner: OPERA-L ; EXLIBRIS-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
> > -- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions --
> >
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