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  Madama Butterfly Reviews
Madama Butterfly
Lyric Opera

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...The curtain opens on "Madama Butterfly" to a stunning image that must have seemed familiar even to newcomers in Lyric Opera of Chicago's audience at Thursday's opening night, so reminiscent is it of iconic Japanese woodblock prints like the "Great Wave" by Hokusai."
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Nancy Malitz



Chicago On the Aisle- Recommended

"...No matter how you frame him, Pinkerton is self-centered, reckless and destructive. Surely the opera's most difficult bit to bring off is his belated rush back to Butterfly as if to - exactly what, we are not sure. In Lyric's staging, one gets the sense that while Butterfly has grown through this awful business, Pinkerton has not. Alas, as Butterfly is dead, Martínez cannot save that final moment."
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Lawrence B. Johnson



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Henrik Nanasi conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra with vim and vigor, driving the score along energetically, despite a plot that spans years in which little happens. This is part of what makes the present production so exciting, even during the long interlude between Acts One and Two. Here, the middle of the stage suddenly starts rotating as Cio-Cio-San, her maid and son, patiently await Pinkerton's return. It's kind of an odd moment when time seems to stand still, yet the set doesn't. This Madama Butterfly revival wouldn't be nearly so successful or enjoyable without Martínez and Nanasi. They bring Puccini's poignant score vividly to life and make a disturbing story almost sublime. And that is no small achievement!"
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Barnaby Hughes



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...It's hard to think of a classical opera that still elicits stronger reactions than Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly. As the story of a woman who attempts to escape the strictures of her own society by marrying into another and being betrayed a second time, it poses uncomfortable questions about identity and loyalty. And while it contains some of Puccini's best-beloved arias, large portions of Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica's libretto are too conversational for a viewer to lose themselves in musical grandeur. Audiences will have to draw their own conclusions, but the Lyric Opera's revival of a production originally directed by Michael Grandage lays out the questions in their full complexity, and Henrik Nanasi's conducting buttresses their emotional heft."
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Jacob Davis



NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Deborah Nansteel (Suzuki), Anthony Clark Evans (Sharpless) and Rodell Rosel (Goro) added immeasurably to the success of this storytelling, each of them singing with the urgency of an artist who has something to say, who wants to have a conversation across the footlights. In the famous offstage “Humming Chorus,” Lyric’s chorus is, as usual, unsurpassed for both beauty of sound and impeccable musicianship."
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Aaron Hunt



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Somewhat Recommended

"...Ultimately, there is a reason Madama Butterfly is considered one of Puccini's finest works and is consistently so frequently performed the world over. The score is undeniably beautiful and the story is poignant, shrewdly incorporating and intertwining themes of colonialism and human frailty. The production currently playing at the Lyric Opera has been staged with a clear eye towards these elements and, by all accounts, is a fine Madama Butterfly. However, with discussions regarding racially-conscious casting finally reaching the world of opera, there is still a strange sensation watching a story unfold in which more than half of the characters are of Asian descent, but only one of the performers is. Ultimately, it is down to the individual audience member whether or not this fact is a deal breaker."
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Bryson David Hoff



Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...The Lyric Opera of Chicago first presented Puccini's Madama Butterfly in 1955 (it made its world premiere in 1904); the version on stage there now (through March 8) is a revival of a production the grand opera house first staged in 2013. I wasn't alive for that mid-century premiere, and I wasn't yet an opera fan for its 2013 return. So it's my great luck now (as it would be anyone's who is wise enough to snap up a ticket) to get to experience this exceptional revival of a timeless, albeit tragic, classic (here directed by Louisa Muller, based on Michael Grandage's original). From deceptively simple staging to gorgeously emotive performances to breathtaking orchestration, this production reminds us what a jewel we have in a theater as dedicated to presenting world-class opera as the Lyric."
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Lisa Trifone



Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...Brian Jagde's powerful tenor and Ana Maria Martinez's delicate and expressively lyrical soprano were worth the slosh through the snow for Lyric Opera's opening of "Madama Butterfly," Thursday."
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Jodie Jacobs



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...Though the audience seemed to include more young people than your average Lyric event, it seems safe to assume that the majority in the crowd knew the story and music very well, which includes some of the most famous arias in the opera repertoire. We may have seen Madama Butterfly before, but this production is one that likely left others, like this writer, simultaneously electrified—as Puccini reportedly was when he first saw a theatrical play with this story—and verklempt. How inconsequential the 11th hour substitution of four in the cast announced before curtain rise seemed to be."
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Amy Munice