Puccini: Madama Butterfly

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Anthony Minghella’s stunning production was seen by thousands of people around the world and was originally broadcast March 7, 2009 as part of the Peabody and Emmy Award®-winning Live in HD transmissions to movie theaters. Patricia Racette is Cio-Cio-San, Marcello Giordani is American Navy lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton, Maria Zifchak is Suzuki and Dwayne Croft is Sharpless. Patrick Summers conducts the Metropolitan Opera and Chorus.

Product Details

  • Actors: Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, Dwayne Croft, Patrick Summers
  • Directors: Anthony Minghella, Carolyn Choa, Gary Halvorson
  • Writers: Giacomo Puccini, Giacosa & Illica
  • Producers: Peter Gelb, The Metropolitan Opera
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: German, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Classical
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • ASIN: B004ECFW7Q

Customer Reviews

Puppets? What puppets?

118 people found this helpful.
 on June 5, 2011
By Cy Reese
Since I generally prefer traditional productions, I was somewhat skeptical as I sat down to watch and hear Anthony Minghella’s production of the most performed opera in the Unites States, and perhaps the world – Madama Butterfly. Adding to my concern and curiosity was the advertised use of puppetry in this Metropolitan Opera HD series event. Let me come right to the point in this critique: this opera pulls you in! I was totally mesmerized and after three beautiful hours, felt like I should feel after hearing and viewing an opera. My reaction is not surprising when I review the different facets of this production:

Minghella’s Marvelous Met Butterfly

59 people found this helpful.
 on January 12, 2011
By G P Padillo
When I first read about Minghella’s production I had serious doubts, but everyone I knew (well, almost) who saw it in London, then here, had nothing but raves. I still had doubts going in, but was instantly won over by every element of it. The lighting, costumes, unit set and the never less than startling use of color is breathtaking.

A melting pot of traditional theaters and a mixed bag of voices.

65 people found this helpful.
 on December 21, 2010
By Jaydoggy
Anthony Minghella’s new staging of Madama Butterfly is a fascinating mix of traditional theater from both Europe and Japan. This new production seems to have finally been released on DVD due to its online popularity and requests. This is the third production of a Madama Butterfly I’ve seen (I’m still pretty new to opera), and currently stands at my favorite.

One of the best opera videos you can get

14 people found this helpful.
 on January 27, 2011
By figaretto
This is one of those opera videos that works on all levels, and because it is very hard to achieve that with this particular opera, and also because this is a very touching piece when delivered well as it is here, I highly recommend the video.

Good production but with minor issues

10 people found this helpful.
 on June 24, 2011
By John Chandler
Butterfly is always difficult to cast – mature caucasian sopranos just cannot look the part and of course the rest of the Japanese roles are similar. In recent years a large number of brilliant Asian singers, mostly from China and Korea, have appeared and it is disappointing they do not get selected more often for operas like Butterfly abd Turandot, particularly when Blu-ray discs are planned as they just make the visual side so much more realistic. It is no longer acceptable to say visual appearances don’t matter. Having said that, this production makes a good attempt to disguise their Italian cast through skilled costume design and mostly one can overlook the obvious. Butterfly herself however is more difficult. Angeletti has a huge nose, rather large feet and in close ups her dental structure is very prominent. She tries hard and sings well but just does not remotely look like a 15 year old geisha. In the interlude between the two scenes in the second act, a short ballet appears that I felt added nothing to the production, but it was just odd and not a serious distraction.

A Butterfly for the Ages

3 people found this helpful.
 on January 12, 2013
By Juan Morales
I wasn’t going to write a review but after reading some of the “bad” reviews here, figured I would put in my two cents. In my opinion, this is will probably be “the” Madama Butterfly against which future productions of this opera will be rated against. I have to say I am not a huge fan of minimalist productions, but sometimes they work and sometimes they dont. My biggest problem is when those productions take liberties with the libretto in order to make it fit. This production though I must say it worked perfectly. How can you not be moved when they were singing the love duet at the end of the first act! All I kept thinking was God I need to go to New York and see this live!!. I do have to say that for all her popularity – Patricia Racette might not be “the” best Butterfly ever vocally, but she was not as awful as some reviewer here makes her out to be. You do have to admit her acting was incredible, which is more than you can say for some singers these day that feel that all they need to get by on the opera stage is hit a few high notes and look pretty while doing it. One thing I must mention and this holds true of any telecast. What looks good on the stage while you are sitting a few feet away from it, does not necessarily look good close up. When they decide to tape these performances, they need to have some sort of rehearsal and make changes or study screen shots. No matter how good these are, there are instances when the camera comes too close for comfort and it is not a pretty sight!!

racette and minghella are brilliant

5 people found this helpful.
 on June 21, 2011
By R. Ramon
I saw the summer re-run of Madame Butterfly, having unfortunately missed the original HD broadcast. It was actually rather nice that they did away with the original intermission(s), as this helped maintain the dramatic flow of the evening. Minghella was such an intelligent, thoughtful and poetic director, one of my favorites, and I eagerly looked forward to his production. He did not disappoint. His stagecraft, and what has been referred to as “minimalist” style, were potent without being either over- or under-done and made excellent use of the space on stage. The beautiful and vibrant costuming also added much to his visual style. I liked his use of the smooth-moving screens and also the lanterns. I thought his use of a puppet for Butterfly’s son was brilliant. The puppeteers expertly gave him fine nuance and gesture and succeeded in creating a credible and dramatic performance. Some reviewers said the black-clad figures operating him were a distraction, but one must remember that opera is a distance medium; it’s not likely a viewer in the audience (especially in the cavernous Met) would have noticed their movements nearly as much as the closeup view given by the camera on the lip of the stage gave. I found it amazing that the inanimate face of the puppet almost seemed to take on different expressions according to the subtle movements of his head and neck, in harmony with the rest of his body. It was mesmerizing.

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