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Madama Butterfly is Japanese - and not - in Singapore Lyric Opera's offering

Published on Jan 21, 2013 4:52 PM
Singapore Lyric Opera's putting on Madame Butterfly. Featured here are rehearsal shots of singers and director Andrew Sinclair. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO

The Singapore Lyric Opera's Madama Butterfly may have a Japanese soprano and US-based tenor in the lead roles, but do not expect the characters to bow or wear socks on stage.

"When you go down that road, there's the danger of it not working at all," says director Andrew Sinclair. "Characters taking their shoes off, for example, you're left with shoes all over the stage because there is no time for them to put the shoes on before exiting."

The libretto about a young geisha who kills herself so her American lover will adopt their child plays at the Esplanade Theatre from Feb 1 to 5. In nods to the Japanese setting, the sets will feature tatami floor mats and the costumes have distinct Oriental influences.

"What is interesting for me is to have an almost entirely Asian cast, one where all the Western parts are played by Westerners," says Sinclair, who directed Salome for the SLO in 2011. This will be his 11th staging of Madama Butterfly and he is still in love with Puccini's passionate score.