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Review: Madama Butterfly, New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham


Ellen Kent Opera performing Madama Butterfly

As from late September this opera company is faced with a gargantuan, mainly one-night ­stand tour of all four corners of the UK plus Ireland (over 100 appearances, including Sundays), with three popular operas until April 2015.

This mind-­blowing organisation must be discreetly kept under wraps as the singers give their all at every performance.

Greeted by a colourful set, we were charmed to see beautiful antique kimonos adding to atmospheric, historic Japanese scenery.

Conductor Nicolae Dohotaru would have done well to curb somehow the eager over­-the-­top horns, but we relished a heart rending oboe amongst sensitive woodwinds and nimble strings throughout Puccini’s complex score.

Madame Butterfly by Elena Dee was imaginative and with her broad vocal range and imaginative acting skills, a thorough delight to enjoy.

Tenor Giorgi Meladze was somewhat stilted as Pinkerton, however. One became mesmerised with his inevitable outstretched arms emphasising a strong unemotional voice.

However, Butterfly’s well presented servant Susuki by Zarui Vardanean delighted with her full and varied mezzo voice range, and persuasive acting skills.

A strong imaginative depiction of the USA Consul by Vladimir Dragos added to the quality on stage. And finally, Butterfly’s small son was shyly depicted by local Harrison Phipps.

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