Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Giacomo Puccini, Madama Butterfly - Staatsoper im Schillertheater Berlin

Performance 1st May

The first evening of my Berlin residence started off with Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Schillertheater and a wonderful performance. Madama Butterfly is an opera that always seemed strange to me. Some parts are really marvelous while other parts always bored me. This production did not disappoint me and I have to say that I enjoyed it from the beginning to the tragic ending. Eike Gramss realised a production that looks astonishing and creates space for intimate atmosphere as well (stage & costumes: Peter Sykora). Gramss shows a young girl that expected to much of love and marriage. His Butterfly is not just a victim of Pinkteron, but also a victim of her own expectations which finally bring her to the final suicide.
Musically Stefano Ranzani created the perfect balance between the highly romantic intimate passages and the hysteric dramatic outbursts of the score. He showed the diversity of colours that are hidden in this ravishing score. The Staatskapelle Berlin managed to bring out this eastern sound with great clarity and beauty, while supporting the singers appropriately.
The smaller roles (Scott Wilde as Bonze, Arttu Kataja as Yamadori, Natalia Skrycka as Kate Pinkerton and David Oštrek as Imperial commissioner) were performed very well. Especially Natalia Skrycka's warm and full voice sounded lovely during her short appearance.
Jürgen Sacher sang the role of Goro with a very bright and focussed tenor voice. The timbre of his voice is very bright and clear and has a very carrying sound. This is also valid for Katharina Kammerloher who sang Suzuki. Her portrayal was very convincing and she did a wonderful job with that role. Her mezzo voice has a very smooth timbre with a very concentrated sound. Alfredo Daza as Sharpless also gave a great performance with a very pleasant baritone voice that has a very warm and songful timbre. Also his acting was impressive and highly convincing.
The male lead, B.F. Pinkerton, was performed by Stefano La Colla who was a very powerful tenor voice. Especially his upper register was very strong and he seemed not to fear any high notes up there. Not only did he manage the high tessitura well, it also sounded really lovely. His timbre is both, youthful and virile and his whole portrayal of the role was convincing, especially in the final act.
Nevertheless, the highlight of the evening was Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho in the title role. What a voice! Her soprano has a shimmering upper register with such clarity and brightness that one wishes for more phrases up there. Not only does her voice sound beautifully, it also radiates through the whole auditorium without any problems. Only the lower register sometimes could be a little stronger, but alltogether her performance was simply marvelous. The high d flat during her first appearance sounded just brilliantly and also the great duet in act 1 was a great pleasure.
Alltogether I had a lovely night with wonderful music and a very touching performance. Therefor I give 9 stars to Madama Butterfly at the Schillertheater.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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