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Opera in the Heights’ Maestro Eiki Isomura on Flipping the Lens on ‘Madama Butterfly’ — Broadway World

Read more at Broadway World

—by Eiki Isomura: “I still love BUTTERFLY,” wrote Puccini. “I never listen with pleasure to any of my operas, with the exception perhaps of the last act of “La bohème.” But BUTTERFLY, yes – everything! And I have the knowledge that I have written the most modern of my operas.”

By “modern,” he might have been referring to the opera’s contemporary setting of 1904, his engagement with a foreign culture particularly in vogue at the time, or his incorporation of post-tonal harmony in the score. Whatever the case, some aspects have aged less gracefully than others. Today, there is an increasing awareness among interpreters and audiences of the opera’s problematic nature as an artifact of cultural appropriation. For Asian interpreters of the work, BUTTERFLY presents a dilemma both ideological and practical: Am I validating and lending undeserved credibility to an unfair portrayal of this culture? And by performing this work will I be pigeonholing myself within the profession? …

Image courtesy of Opera in the Heights/Pacific Opera Project

May 2, 2019

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