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Opening night of Madame Butterfly

Published on Tuesday 4 January, 2011

The day crew arrived to find local staff asleep around the set having worked into the small hours changing over to Madame Butterfly. All went reasonably well although it has been a major change to accommodate both productions into the same lighting rig and some elements of the Madame Butterfly set have been relocated.


Photo: Martin BellWe were impressed with the marketing material at the box office of the NCPA.

This view of the Opera House gives an idea of the scale of the venue - 2398 seats in total.



The Company were back in again relatively early for class and then on stage for the start of the dress rehearsal. Under normal circumstances we would only have a technical rehearsal but as we have not performed the production since the last China Tour at Christmas 2007 and there are many dancers playing roles for the first time, a full dress rehearsal is required. This gives an extra challenge to the Wardrobe Team who need to wash and dry many of the costumes for the performance – but generally the Laundry in the NCPA is only open in the mornings! The Dress rehearsal went well and was finished ahead of schedule.  A few adjustments to lighting and all was ready for curtain up at 7.30pm.

At this performance Julie Charlet made her debut in the role of Butterfly dancing with Kenneth Tindall as Pinkerton. The performance was truly magnificent and extremely well received by the audience. Numbers were a little less than on previous evenings but the local people had returned to work today after the 3-day holiday over New Year and apparently don’t go out on the day they return to work after the holidays. We have higher expectations for tomorrow!

After the performance, Young (Cui Yang), our promoter arranged a wonderful banquet for the whole company at a restaurant near to the hotel, where we presented him with a promotional photograph of Cleopatra. The evening was much enjoyed by all and Young shared a confidence with us that “Madame Butterfly is his favourite ballet” – no wonder that it is our second visit with this production. We are already talking about our next return to Beijing with Cleopatra in 2013!

All photos: Neil Jarman except Auditorium: Martin Bell
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Butterfly, a geisha 蝴蝶夫人(艺妓) Julie Charlet
Samurai, Butterfly’s father 蝴蝶夫人父亲(武士) Hironao Takahashi
Goro, a marriage broker 五郎(媒人) Giuliano Contadini
Geishas 艺妓 Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Ayana Kanda, Michela Paolacci, Dreda Blow, Hannah Bateman, Jessica Morgan
Pinkerton, a naval officer 平克尔顿(美国海军军官) Kenneth Tindall
Sailors 水手 Ashley Dixon, Tobias Batley, Michael Berkin
Suzuki, Butterfly’s maid 铃木(蝴蝶夫人女佣) Pippa Moore
Sharpless, American consul 沙普勒斯(美国领事) Darren Goldsmith
Japanese Women, wedding guests 日本女人(婚礼来宾) Michela Paolacci, Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Ayana Kanda, Isabella Gasparini, Hannah Bateman, Lori Gilchrist, Jessica Morgan, Dreda Blow
Japanese Men, wedding guests 日本男人(婚礼来宾) Jeremy Curnier, Sebastian Loe, Yoshihisa Arai
Bonze, a Holy Man 和尚 Hironao Takahashi
Trouble, Butterfly’s son  痛苦(蝴蝶夫人儿子) (local child)
Dream Women, images that haunt Butterfly’s Dreams 蝴蝶夫人梦中的女人 Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Martha Leebolt, Lori Gilchrist, Victoria Sibson
Prince Yamedori, a wealthy suitor 山鸟公爵(富有的求婚者) Hironao Takahashi
Kate, Pinkerton’s American wife 凯特(平克尔顿的美国妻子 Victoria Sibson
Conductor 指挥 John Pryce-Jones
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Mark Skipper DL, Northern Ballet's Chief Executive. Photo Simon Lawson.
Chief Executive

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.


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