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Your Reaction: What did you think of Puccini's Madama Butterfly 2017?

Audience reviews of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s elegant Royal Opera production.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

28 March 2017 at 9.24am | 31 Comments

Press reviews:
Guardian ★★★★★
Times (£) ★★★★
Telegraph ★★★★
Financial Times ★★★★
WhatsOnStage ★★★★
The Stage ★★★★
Independent ★★★★
Bachtrack ★★★★
The Upcoming ★★★★

What did you think of Madama Butterfly?
Share your thoughts via the comments below.

Madama Butterfly runs until 25 April 2017. Tickets are sold out although returns may become available and a limited allocation will be released each week during Friday Rush.

The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 30 March 2017. Find your nearest cinema.

The production is a co-production with Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, and is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Aud Jebsen, Spindrift Al Swaidi and The Maestro's Circle.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

28 March 2017 at 9.24am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, Madama Butterfly, Production, review, your reaction

This article has 31 comments

  1. Robin Smith responded on 28 March 2017 at 4:00pm Reply

    The Guardian gave it 5 stars (Tim Ashley). The Observer gave it 4 stars (Fiona Maddocks).

  2. francois responded on 28 March 2017 at 4:27pm Reply

    Outstanding performance yesterday! Maestro Pappano conducts Puccini with irresistible tension and dynamics, reminding the genius of Toscanini. Super Ermonela Jaho of course, but the real surprise came from Elisabeth Deshong, spectacular both vocally and theatrically. I hope she will come back soon to the ROH, she looks like the next top mezzo-sopranos in the World!
    Very good Pinkerton too, and I liked very much the production. Thank you for giving us performances of such quality!

  3. John Willman responded on 29 March 2017 at 9:50am Reply

    What a brilliant production, with superb singing especially by Ermonela Jaho. Great music also by the orchestra led by Pappano. So much better than some of the terrible productions of the last few years (e.g. Meistersingers). Audience at the Thursday matinee stunned

  4. Roger Mullis responded on 30 March 2017 at 5:25pm Reply

    Stunning Butterfly on Monday, stunning Meistersinger on Tuesday. A real purple patch for ROH, and I just don't know how Pappano does it.

  5. Jane scott responded on 30 March 2017 at 11:05pm Reply

    EVerything about this production was sublime, Jaho made me weep throughout the last act, Fuentes was wonderful as were Suzuki and The consul. Pappano was terrific, a wonderful wonderful evening.

  6. Annabel Charles responded on 30 March 2017 at 11:46pm Reply

    Just enjoyed an incredible evening watching Butterfly live screened from ROH. It was extraordinarily moving - the singing and acting superb. Ermonela Jaho was mesmerising ... and Pappano totally wonderful.

  7. Danielle Dahan responded on 31 March 2017 at 12:47am Reply

    Fantastic performance, Ms Jaho is not only a great singer she is also a great actress. Pure delight to watch (in Montreal)...

  8. Brian Saulbaum responded on 31 March 2017 at 10:44am Reply

    Another outstanding production from Maestro Pappano, and a universally fabulous cast, and Jaho and Fuentes were extraordinary.
    However I wish the Royal Opera would stop trying to sell these performances to the audience that are already sitting there. We had trails of Butterfly!! The presenter talks far too much. She seems to be only interested in herself not the opera (signing off with her name, who cares?) and always telling us how intensely emotional and fantastic something was - who is she to tell us that? We have our own responses and don't need to be nannied by a tv puppet thank you very much.

    Two other thoughts: who has the crassness of taste to allow an advert for the Royal Opera House website about thirty seconds after the curtain came down in the interval? It destroyed any atmosphere left by that incredible performance.
    And there were SO many cuts between shots it was dizzy making even in the concentrated quiet moments. Nuts. I want to concentrate on the performance that I've bought a ticket for, not be sold a television show.

    So please ROH Media Team or whoever you are, do the singers and the artists a favour, BACK OFF! You are ruining the performance!

    Apart from all of that it was an amazing performance and thank you for continuing to do put these out.

  9. Maggie responded on 31 March 2017 at 11:35am Reply

    [This comment has been edited as per our community guidelines]
    I watched the NTL showing of Madama Butterfly and loved it, I thought Ermonela Jaho was superb but the close-up shots were unforgiving. It is always a stretch of the imagination to see a mature woman in the role of a 15 yr old but the frequent close-ups made this more of a problem. The views of thick stage make-up, joins where wigs met skin etc on quite a few characters were too much and I shut my eyes a lot so as not to be distracted and just enjoy the stunning voices. More long shots would have been better. Still a fabulous experience though.

    • Geoff Key responded on 3 April 2017 at 11:34am

      You are absolutely right. If the music matters most, broadcast the sound-track. If the total production package matters most, use a fixed focus camera that mimics being sat unmoving - though not unmoved - in the best seat in the house (not the Royal Box). If cinematic verisimilitude matters most get Francesca Hayward to act and lip sync to Ermonela Jaho's voice (it worked for West Side Story).
      More realistically don't use make-up designed for stage performance on a film full of close ups. In the interval clips with Pappano, Jaho looked infinitely younger and more beautiful than the Cio-Cio-San of Act 1.

  10. Fantastica Madame Butterfly! Bravissima Ermonela Jaho! Sublime! Stupendi costumi, make-up, decoro! Meraviglioso Pappano!

  11. Joanna responded on 31 March 2017 at 4:27pm Reply

    Superb singing as one expects from the ROH but sadly the production was not a patch on the Anthony Minghella one for the ENO which was a thing of rare beauty. This production looked positively am-dram by comparison. And I agree with the comments above about the close-ups which were not kind to Jaho! I too tended to close my eyes and just enjoy the singing.

  12. Lia Thorborg responded on 31 March 2017 at 7:06pm Reply

    Magnificent performance. And to be able to enjoy this beautiful production in our local Cinema Gouda is incredible. We loved Madama Butterfly and hope to see ROH operas for many years to come.

  13. Penny Milrose responded on 31 March 2017 at 7:59pm Reply

    Wonderful singing and superb performances by all. Marred by close up shots - had to close eyes to enjoy. We go for a performance - close ups not necessary - too much reality - however beautiful the voice - not always pretty to see close up. As someone else said this is not a TV play.

  14. Jean-Charles responded on 1 April 2017 at 2:22pm Reply

    Très belle mise en scène, costumes parfaits, chanteurs et orchestre excellents, tout est au service de ce chef d'oeuvre absolu, profondément émouvant même si on l'a vu des dizaines de fois.

  15. ryan responded on 5 April 2017 at 10:22am Reply

    It was delightful, wonderful.
    It was beautiful, especially madam butterfly :)

  16. ryan responded on 5 April 2017 at 10:24am Reply

    Greetings ,
    Jordaan amsterdam

  17. Carol v.d. Meulen responded on 7 April 2017 at 1:58pm Reply

    Breathtaking, Beautiful, Brilliant........
    We have intensely enjoyed Madama Butterfly Thank you all soo very much!!!

  18. Petunia responded on 8 April 2017 at 5:42pm Reply

    Having seen many of the ROH's live broadcasts, it wasn't until I saw The Winter's Tale on tv at Christmas that I realised that what we see on the cinema screen is really being captured for showing on the small screen i.e. television and DVD and then all the zooms and changing camera angles come into their own. But, as has been said by others, it would be much better for the cinema audience to have one fixed camera, front of the DG Grand Tier would be nice, so we can look where we want, just you would if you were really there. On the other hand, the zooms on the amazing Marcelo Puente did make my heart beat just a little bit faster...

  19. Peter Farrren responded on 20 April 2017 at 5:52pm Reply

    The singing was sensational and the orchestra under Pappano magnificent. But as a production, not a patch on the ENO's Minghella, which was way over the horizon in terms of emotion, inventiveness and sheer visual beauty

  20. Jane Wessely responded on 20 April 2017 at 8:54pm Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly with many of the comments. A wonderful experience, superb production and so moving. I fell in love with Butterfly again after seeing and hearing some "ordinary " productions over the years. The voices were sensational and Antonio Pappano is the ultimate maestro.....
    .BUT I do find the filming clumsy . Too many close-ups , too many angles. We all just want the experience of being in that beautiful opera house watching and listening. We need to stay in the moment...Often with the ballets we miss the overall staging because of close ups.
    Forgive me for being so blunt. Don't stop these live streaming... they are a godsend if we have failed to get tickets or can't afford them... but you did ask.

  21. Jeff Cridland responded on 20 April 2017 at 9:04pm Reply

    Absolutely excellent Butterfly, artists, conductor and orchestra and what a fine production too.

  22. David Richards responded on 21 April 2017 at 7:29am Reply

    The best 'butterfly' I have seen in over 30 years. Ermanuela Jaho produced one of the truly great operatic performances. It must be preserved. WE MUST HAVE A DVD.

  23. Barry Austin responded on 21 April 2017 at 9:34am Reply

    Saw the live broadcast at the Covent Garden Odeon cinema.....

    The performance was stunning, the voices to die for with Butterfly and Pinkerton so well matched. I was one of a party of four, we all had tears streaming down our faces such were the emotions portrayed....

    Some of the close-ups of Butterfly were cruel......

    The break in transmission at the end of the humming chorus spoilt the atmosphere, only a minute or so and such a shame.......

    • Jimmy Chadda responded on 21 April 2017 at 10:16am

      Hi Barry,

      I'm so sorry to hear about the break in transmission at your cinema during the live relay of Madama Butterfly. There were no general issues with the satellite feed on the night so we will investigate this with the venue.

      Best wishes,

      ROH Cinema

  24. Roz Broome responded on 21 April 2017 at 1:18pm Reply

    Booked when I saw Ermonela Jaho was cast and was not disappointed. Wonderful singing and acting from her, who could not fall in love with her? Must also mention Elizabeth Deshong. The rapport between the two very moving. Thank you ROH!

  25. Roger S Shirley responded on 22 April 2017 at 2:53pm Reply

    The voices were very good with Butterfly and Pinkerton well matched. Some of the close-ups of Butterfly were unfortunate.
    The set was poor compared to previous productions. In that it was too heavy and plain, and detracted from the delicate nature of the storey.

  26. I was at the 7 April performance. Stunning. The Butterfly/Suzuki relationship extraordinary. I was wrung out with emotion, so was most of the audience around me, including the young man sitting next to me with his girlfriend! Two people had a fight a couple of rows in front of us and the tenor was booed off. I was very cross. His character is MEANT to be shallow and he was a great foil.

  27. Liane Bierau responded on 24 April 2017 at 3:40pm Reply

    Seeing my name there and reading that my original email has not been published I feel quite embarrassed as it looks as if I had written something bad. It was just the opposite.I wrote how much I loved every minute of it, I was overwhelmed and in tears, particularly due to the the wonderful performance of Emanuela Jaho who has been a favourite of mine for a long time and made me book for Madama Butterfly which is really not one of my favourite operas, but. I would not have wanted to miss her under any circumstances.The whole thing was wonderful.

  28. Lynda Hillyer responded on 9 May 2017 at 10:23am Reply

    I watched Madama Butterfly with Ermonela Jaho three times, twice in the cinema and once in the opera house. It was truly wonderful and I still watch the interval films from time to time on my ROH digital programme. A great singer, a great conductor and a great cast and production. Are you going to release a DVD of this so that we can watch it forever?

    • Asher Korner (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 9 May 2017 at 10:38am

      Dear Lynda,

      Thanks for your comment, it's great to hear you enjoyed Madama Butterfly. The production will be released on DVD, but not until early 2018 as editing begins in August.

      I hope this helps,

      All the best,

      Asher Korner

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