Music Director: Michael Granovsky
Stage Director: Alexey Stepanyuk, Honoured Art Worker of Russia
Set Designer: Dmitry Cherbadzhi
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Kopanev, Honoured Art Worker of Russia
Premiered on 31 January 2008
The new production has made a great impression with its artistic refinement and a striking integrity of all its musical and theatrical components. Saturated with the aroma of Japanese national melodies, Puccini’s music, so well-known to the listener, was quite often presented as an Italian verismo drama with somewhat exaggerated passion and too accentuated expression. In the interpretation by Mikhail Granovsky (the Bolshoi Theatre’s conductor tutored by Gennady Rozhdestvensky) Puccini’s music in this production sounds impressionistically refined and moving as personification of the main character’s lyrical nature – tender and charming Cio-Cio-San fascinating with her purity, sincerity and ability to love and suffer deeply...
In my opinion, the Theatre’s new production of Madama Butterfly has become an undisputable success of the company and its guest masters who managed to create an integral, artistically convincing, beautiful and touching show. I think the directors and performers of this chamber lyrically psychological drama succeeded in proving inexhaustible possibilities of its classical interpretation in full conformity with the feelings and fine emotional impulses peculiar to the moving and in culminations dramatically saturated and tragic music by the greatest Italian maestro...
In full conformity with Puccini’s exquisite sound pattern is the direction concept of the production (Stage director Alexey Stepanyuk, Honoured Artist of Russia, from the Mariinsky Theatre). Stepanyuk’s direction is characterized by marvelous musicality and artistic plasticity, by subtle and deep insight into the composer’s concept, by the ability to penetrate into the culture of Japan and to impersonate its unique features in stage characters. For all orientally soft lines, smooth movements, graceful poses, bows and curtsies, in the action development there are also quite a few sharp, unexpected and truly dramatic contrasts accentuated by some mise-en-scènes and light effects...
All in all the stage direction is inseparable not only from the music but from its design as well, one way or other (Set designer Dmitry Cherbadzhi). The directors also managed to feel deeply the essence of the composer’s concept and to create, in full conformity with it, a very dainty and subtly stylized Japanese-like sets in tender, pastel, pink and lavender colours (pale pink cherry-tree flowers on the backdrop, etc.). The light and airy design generates the atmosphere of spring florescence (Act I) which due to the light effects becomes gloomy or lighter, gets filled with anxiety and apprehension in the acts to follow.
URFO magazine, February-March 2008