How about Kurt Vonnegut's _Slaughterhouse 5_, which was made into a
German-language opera a year or two ago?
Doug and I have just come back from the San Diego opera _Madama
Butterfly_. Jaded opera queens that we were, we thought that we really
didn't have to drive another 220 miles to see yet another _Butterfly_,
but the name of Zambello piqued my curiosity.
Now the disclaimer: I happen to be one of the very few persons who
actually enjoyed Zambello's universally reviled Met _Lucia_.
Having said that, I found her production very engrossing. Her
production of _Butterfly_ is one of those that force you to consciously
decide, in the course of the performance, whether you love it or hate
it. It's undeniably true that there are some grave discrepancies
between the text and what's going on the stage, but once I decided to go
with her, I found much to enjoy in what she did.
BTW, the supertitles, sponsored by the American Express, conveniently
ignored, or altered, words and phrases that did not suppport the stage
action, so I guess that this production won't sell in Italy. :-)
Speaking of subtitles, the translator made one huge mistake. I bet I'm
the only one who caught it. It was such a big mistake that whoever did
the translation might want to commit seppuku if s/he realized what s/he
did, so I won't tell you what it is. Suffice it to say that it has to
do with something that the likes of Ken Ryker and Jeff Stryker are
As for the singers, de la Mora looked very attractive, but he was
totally miscast as Pinkerton vocally. This role is two sizes too big
for him. He ain't no spinto, and he has ABSOLUTELY ZERO squillo.
Watanabe Yooko has seen better days. When she first appeared on stage,
I couldn't believe that it was her--she looked and sounded very
different than she did three years ago. She was just ordinary in Act 1,
but got better in later acts.
Overall, it was clearly Zambello's _Butterfly_, not the singers'. I now
look forward to seeing her _Billy Budd_ in Paris next week.
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
"We're here, we're queer, and we love opera!" (c) Didi
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