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The sets by Neil Patel set the action firmly in turn of the century Japan, as did the beautifully detailed kimonos worn by the Japanese characters. The direction, too, was traditional and the sad tale unfolded in an easily understandable manner. It was a good choice for a first opera and many young people were in attendance.
Philip Cutlip as Sharpless in Arizona Opera's 'Madama Butterfly'. Photo © 2007 Scott Humbert
Barbara Divis was a memorable Cio-Cio San. Petite and seemingly vulnerable, in Act I she was the picture of a young girl in love. Her voice is strong, lustrous and replete with the dramatic colors this difficult role calls for. We watched her character grow from a submissive teenager to the spurned wife and mother who preferred death to dishonor. It was a dramatic tour de force and Divis kept the audience in the palm of her hand every minute she was on stage.
Copyright © 4 February 2007
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA