Madama butterfly

central city opera

June 2005


LIGHTING DESIGN | David Martin Jacques

CONDUCTOR | John Baril

CAST | Maria Kanyova | Gerard Powers | Michael Corvino | Mika Shigematsu

PHOTOGRAPHY | Mark Kiryluk | Stephen Holowid

Opera | George Loomis | December 2005

“This year even the popular favourite made news, since it marked Catherine Malfitano’s debut as a director. Given that Malfitano has sung the title role of Madama Butterfly many times and that Butterfly centres on its prima donna to a greater degree than do most other operas, one might have thought that the Butterfly of her production would be composed of an amalgamation of ideas from a career’s worth of directors and that the other characters would be left to themselves. But Malfitano’s Butterfly was all of a piece, and she had clearly put a lot of thought into a generally satisfying debut. Like many Butterflys, hers was rich in Japanese ritual, and in a programme note she mentioned her interest in Kabuki and Noh Theatre. But she made the material her own as she explored Butterfly’s relationship to her own and her adopted cultures. An important figure was her father, whose ritual suicide was acted out before the music began. For all Butterfly’s embrace of American ways, in the final moment she followed her father’s example, even if, ambivalent to the end, she wrapped herself in an American flag when she did so. Malfitano sustained interest during the long Butterfly-Pinkerton duet with a touch of eroticism as the two began to disrobe....”

Opera News | David Shengold | October 2005

“Malfitano fashioned a Butterfly rich in memorable imagery...[She] worked successfully with the unusually attractive central couple, Maria Kanyova and Gerald [sic] Powers, to delineate credible romance; their sensitive enactment of the love duet fueled some genuine erotic heat.”

Financial Times | George Loomis | August 2005

“Central City was also the venue for the soprano Catherine Malfitano’s debut as a producer. Her Madama Butterfly is thoughtfully conceived, fluently executed and heavy with ritual.” | Bob Bows | 2005

“...[I]n Central City Opera’s current production of Madama Butterfly, acclaimed soprano and now first-time director Catherine Malfitano not only brings the story’s anti-imperialist aspects to the fore, but makes a number of other prescient choices that, along with some stellar talent, turn this production into one of the most significant and powerful in memory. Malfitano’s dramatic and bold staging bodes well for her second career as a director.”

Rocky Mountain News | Marc Shulgold | June 2005

“If Malfitano’s star shines in this production, it is not merely on the weight of her name. She brings a freshness and stylized beauty to this familiar story. Her presence is felt nearly every moment, from the unexpected opening tableau (depicting the death of Butterfly’s father that presages her own) to the concluding flag-draped suicide. Yet, what remains in the memory are those elements that elevate the staging...[s]tarting with the love duet. [They] begin their wedding night with endearing hesitance, their love slowly flowering as they undress. The lust and romance intermix with a natural sweetness. Another effective move is Malfitano’s decision to leave the couple’s love child onstage for much of the second half. The presence of the child pushes the crucial mother-son connection front and center.”

Denver Post | Kyle MacMillan | June 2005

“In her impressive debut as a stage director, Catherine Malfitano, a world-renowned soprano, maximizes the powerful drama of this cross-cultural opera and makes the audience reconsider the flaws and mistakes of both main characters.