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Madame Butterfly, New Theatre, Oxford

By Eve Tranter



I had a spectacular evening from start to finish at the performance of Madame Butterfly at the New Theatre on Thursday 18th January. Giacomo Puccini's timeless masterpiece, Madame Butterfly, was brought alive on stage with passion, drama, and a symphony of emotions. Ellen Kent Production, featuring the Ukrainian Opera & Ballet Theatre Kyiv, gave a spellbinding performance which proved to be an unforgettable experience for both opera enthusiasts and newcomers alike.


Pre drinks were served in the piano bar, a relaxing space to spend time with friends and family before the performance. From the moment the curtains rose, the atmosphere was charged with anticipation, and the talented cast transported the audience into the mesmerising tale of love, sacrifice, and heartbreak. The production seamlessly blended impeccable staging, stunning visuals, and the soul-stirring music of Puccini, creating an immersive experience that resonated with the essence of the opera.


As the opera unfolded, the audience was taken on a journey through the highs of passion and the lows of heartbreak. The delicate arias and duets were delivered with precision and emotion, carrying the weight of the story's emotional depth. The climactic moments were underscored by a masterfully orchestrated crescendo, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.


The cast, orchestra, and production team deserve accolades for their exceptional contributions. The attention to detail in the set design and costumes transported the audience to early 20th-century Japan, enhancing the authenticity of the performance. The orchestra skillfully captured the nuances of Puccini's score, creating a sonic backdrop that enriched the entire experience. A special mention also goes to Abingdon Stagecoach, who provided a number of students for the performance.


The standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance was a testament to the collective brilliance on display. After the final bows, the cast sung the Ukranian national anthem to remind us of the continued conflict and sacrifice in Ukraine, which was particularly moving.


It was a wonderful evening at the New Theatre, and I would highly recommend any future operatic performances hosted there. A perfect break from studies to be swept away into the magic of the opera!

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