As part of Blogger Night, we were seated at our table in the auditorium of the Queen Elizabeth theatre and encouraged to blog, tweet and take photos of our experience during the production. This time around I thought instead of live blogging I would just sit back and tweet my experience with a follow up later on my blog for a full review. My side kicks this time around were Stacey Robinsmith, Kelsey Dundon, and John Biehler (with iPad in tow).
As per usual our evening begins with a backstage tour of the production. The stage, costumes and video are all designed by Jun Kaneko from Nagoya Japan giving it a fairly psychedelic look with vivid colours and bold patterns. This stage is smaller than their all their previous productions this year and Jun Kaneko uses lights and artistic video to highlight and enhance the mood of the production.
Standing at the top of the stage it’s easy to become dizzy and suffer from vertigo. The stage director let us know that viewing the stage from a balcony you would see a spiraling effect. Though I wasn’t sure how the whole stage would work during the production, I easily saw how it could play.
The opera is divided up into 3 Acts with only one 25 minute intermission shortly after the first Act.
The performers gave it their all for this production. During the first Act I truly believed in James Valenti’s portrayal of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton as an American navel officer who is stationed in Japan arranges to marry a young geisha – Madama Butterfly. His innocents, yet arrogant attitudes, are believable as he meets his young bride to be for the first time. James’ singing is superb, and his acting skills are amazing. Though not your typical older Tenor, James is young and fits the young naval officer look.
Mihoko Kinoshita’s portrayal of Madama Butterfly was amazing. Singing some of the classics that I’ve heard before were sung with passion and the chemistry between her and James were amazing. You can see the love she has for the naval officer and though the first Act is filled with flirting between the two, you wonder what would happen if their relationship did work out in the end.
The supporting cast also do an amazing job with Joseph Hu’s comical portrayal of Goro the marriage broker and Zheng Cao’s heartwarming portrayal of Suzuki, servant to Madama Butterfly. Also the amazing Jonathan Darlington conducting the amazing music of Puccini and Yoyoi Hirano’s coaching how the actors move on stage make this production a must see.
To round off the evening we were part of the cast after party backstage and were able to mingle with the cast and crew that made this production from the Vancouver Opera truly enjoyable.
What an amazing evening and a great way to round out the wonderful 50th Anniversary of the Vancouver Opera. I’m hoping I’ll be able to participate again next season on Blogger Night as it’s truly a great experience and one that I am grateful to have been apart of! Thanks again to Ling Chan, Social Media Manager of the Vancouver Opera and all the great staff.