28 September 2006

povera Butterfly

After several recent conversations about SF Opera and then after reading the blogosphere reviews of the Met's opening production, I guess I need to revise what I said earlier about nobody really minding Madama Butterfly's many appearances on opera stages everywhere: it looks as if quite a few people feel about Cio-Cio San the way I feel about Mimi. I should have learned from my experience recommending one of my all-time favorite films, The Story of Adele H.: not everyone shares my taste for obsessive tales of unrequited love.

Is it also possible that not everyone is crazy about German expressionism?


snob said...

I do share your taste for obssessive tales of unrequited love and I'm also crazy about German expressionism. I also never want to see Butterfly ever again. I find it utterly boring and totally unmemorable (I couldn't hum a single excerpt from it right now if I tried, even though I could probably sing you the entire of La Boheme from start to finish, and probably the entire of Tristan and maybe the whole Ring). I have better things to do than waste time and money on something so boring eg watch the paint drying on my wall.

snob said...

Just found your original Butterfly post and read it. I disagree with you entire. Butterly is a load of stupid twoddle and a relationship based on nothing, whereas Boheme, when done well, is about the relationship of a group of closeknit friends and the context in which this places their love affairs. It also has wonderful music; I have never been able to understand why anyone thinks there is wonderful music in Butterly. I can't find it, and, having tried too many times, I've given up.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Hi Snob. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I did sort of back off my earlier Butterfly remarks after further conversations made me realize not everyone fell under its spell (you clearly have tried and it doesn't work for you -- but are you sure you couldn't even hum "Un Bel Di"?). Objectively I would agree with you that Boheme is a lovely work with beautiful music that casts a golden nostalgic glow over the past everyone wishes he's had. Subjectively, that nostalgic glow is partly why I dislike it. I also dislike the way it takes up valuable operatic space in areas that do a fairly limited number of operas each year (that is, every place but New York City). I would disagree with you that Butterfly is lacking in either psychological insight or beautiful music, but to each his own.
P.S. Have you seen Masahiro Shinoda's film Double Suicide? If you like stories of obsessive love, check it out.