Sunday, September 25

Review: Indianapolis Opera: Madama Butterfly

With a flick of a fan, Indianapolis Opera opened its 2011-12 season with Puccini. Madama Butterfly, arguably one of the greatest tragedies ever told, graced the Clowes Memorial Hall stage, in Indianapolis this weekend.

The story is of a self-centered American naval officer, Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, portrayed by tenor Garret Sorenson, marrying a naive, young Asian girl, in his desire to have a girl in every port.

The performance is made even more remarkable by the talent of the title role. Stage time, and an emotionally draining character, requires a strong talent, not just her mesmerizing soprano voice, but also in acting abilities. Cio Cio San, aka Madama Butterfly, is portrayed with the necessary ability by Jee Hyun Lim. Lim (Madama Butterfly ’04) returns to Indy to wow the audience by bringing forth the naivety and infatuation geisha Butterfly carries early on, as well as the inner strength to believe Pinkerton will return for her and her child. Lim carries us through the story, from joy and laughter to tears of betrayal.

Baritone Jeffrey Mattsey portrays Sharpless, the U.S. consul in Nagasaki, with sensitivity and strong vocals having no trouble being heard to the back of the house. Mattsey's acting was as solid as his vocals were smooth.
(L) Pinkerton at wedding to Cio Cio San (C) with Sharpless (R)
Bottom Line: Indianapolis Opera shines early in the 2011-12 season with Madama Butterfly leaving the audience with the desire to attend its next offering.

For full schedule and ticket information, visit Indyopera.org.
Photo credit: Denis Ryan Kelly, Jr.
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGO and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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