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Features

Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera/Courtesy
Kelly Kaduce is Madame Butterfly in the Santa Fe Opera’s production.

BY MARY HELEN KLARE
Special to the Monitor

The Santa Fe Opera’s “Madame Butterfly,” by Giacomo Puccini, is one of the most dramatically stirring productions of this opera that I have seen in years. Sung in Italian, this was the opera’s third performance.

With a cast of magnificent singers, Puccini’s exquisite score, Matthew Ozawa’s perceptive direction and the expressive baton of Maestro John Fiore, we were swept into the poignant world of Madame Butterfly.

Born in Lucca, Italy in 1858, Puccini wrote “Madame Butterfly” in 1904 after seeing David Belasco’s play in London. The opera premiered at La Scala in Milan the same year to a disappointing reception but grew in popularity after several revisions. It remains one of his most beloved works. Wanting to authenticate the opera’s music, Puccini attended Kabuki shows. He also incorporated Chinese folk tunes into the score and inserted Star Spangled Banner motifs as well. All makes for music filled with emotional lyricism.

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