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Timely tragic tale

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

15:56, September 14, 2012

(Photo/China Daily)

British Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella's (1954-2008) version of Puccini's timeless tragic tale Madama Butterfly will receive its Asia premiere in Guangzhou on Sept 21.

Cio-Cio San, the heroine, is a Japanese geisha who falls in love with an American naval officer but is toyed with by the cruel man. Raising their son on her own, Cio-Cio San waits for Pinkerton, the officer, to come back to Japan, but Pinkerton marries another woman soon after he returns to the US.

Minghella produced his version of Madama Butterfly in 2005. The film director creates a strong visual impact for the opera by using colors in sharp contrast to the stage setting. Another highlight is that it combines opera and a puppet show. The 3-year-old son of Cio-Cio San will turn up as a life-sized puppet instead of being played by a real person.

The silent puppet, controlled by three men in black and covered by black masks, makes Cio-Cio San's final goodbye to her beloved son before suicide even more heartbreaking.

He Hui, the only Chinese singer who has performed in all of the top six opera houses in the world, is going to play Cio-Cio San. She is currently one of the most popular lyrical sopranos in the world. She will give an emotional interpretation of Cio-Cio San's joy of dreaming of Pinkerton and the pain of saying goodbye to her son.

During the three-day show of Madama Butterfly at Guangzhou Opera House from September 21 to 23, He Hui will have a rest on the second day. Cynthia Lawrence, the most popular soprano at the Metropolitan Opera in New York will substitute He as Cio-Cio San.

8 pm, Sept 21-23. Guangzhou Opera House, Exit B1 of Zhujiang New Town subway station, the interchange of subway line 3 and line 5, Guangzhou. 020-3839-2888.

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