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Final Day in Beijing (2011)

Published on Wednesday 5 January, 2011

Our time in Beijing seems to have flown by and we are at the final performance day already. Class wasn’t until 1.15 so still plenty of time for even more shopping. For some it is the thrill of the bargaining as much as what they are actually buying.

Our overseas tours this year (Hong Kong, Bangkok and Beijing) have all been sponsored by Marketing Leeds and they were joined in Beijing by Welcome to Yorkshire as co-sponsors. A fun hour was had putting together the gift bags that the sponsors’ guests would take away at the end of the evening but an efficient production line made short work of it. The entertaining space in the theatre, to accommodate the 120 guests, is on the 4th floor of the theatre and the seats in the auditorium are on the ground floor so it was necessary to find the best route down – ultimately using 4 escalators! Fortunately in China all hospitality is pre-performance as it would have been a challenge to get the guests up to the 4th floor again in the interval and then back again in 15 minutes!

We had another new cast of Madame Butterfly this evening so another Dress/Technical Rehearsal was required but all went well once the appropriate local technicians were located to provide the power for the lighting rig.

All around the theatre the Technical departments were preparing for the “get out” to follow the final performance. It looked a little like a scenery graveyard but the huge space meant that it was possible to lay everything out in the scene dock areas in an orderly fashion to facilitate easy loading of the containers when they arrive at midnight. We have the same issue as the fit up day that the vehicles carrying the containers are only allowed into the City between certain times in the small hours. Madame Butterfly is only 2 hours long so with 2 ½ hours to de-rig everything all should be ready for loading. Another way to cut down traffic in Beijing is the rule that on one day each week, people are not allowed to drive their cars! This governed by the last two digits of the car registrations. Fortunately our Promoter has two cars to get over this but it does mean that when we go to the airport there will only be one car available as it is not permitted to drive his Picasso on a Thursday!

At this evening’s performance Michela Paolacci made her debut as Madame Butterfly with her real-life partner, John Hull, making his debut as Pinkerton. Also, Michael Berkin made his debut as Sharpless, Martha Leebolt made her debut as Kate Pinkerton and Yoshihisa Arai his debut as Yamadori/Bonze. It was another excellent performance and well received by the audience although Beijing traffic caused some of them to be late.

Tomorrow morning is an early start for the company at 8am to go to the airport for the flights back to the UK.

The tour has been hugely successful for the company and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to perform in such an amazing and prestigious venue. There is definite talk about a return early in 2013 with Cleopatra and perhaps adding Shanghai on that occasion.

All photos: Neil Jarman
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Butterfly, a geisha 蝴蝶夫人(艺妓) Michela Paolacci
Samurai, Butterfly’s father 蝴蝶夫人父亲(武士) Yoshihisa Arai
Goro, a marriage broker 五郎(媒人) Ashley Dixon
Geishas 艺妓 Christie Duncan, Lori Gilchrist, Julie Charlet,
Isabella Gasparini, Victoria Sibson, Jessica Morgan
Pinkerton, a naval officer 平克尔顿(美国海军军官) John Hull
Sailors 水手

Giuliano Contadini, Graham Kotowich,
Kenneth Tindal

Suzuki, Butterfly’s maid 铃木(蝴蝶夫人女佣) Ayana Kanda
Sharpless, American consul 沙普勒斯(美国领事) Michael Berkin
Japanese Women, wedding guests 日本女人(婚礼来宾) Christie Duncan, Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Julie Charlet, Isabella Gasparini, Victoria Sibson, Lori Gilchrist, Jessica Morgan, Dreda Blow
Japanese Men, wedding guests 日本男人(婚礼来宾) Ben Mitchell, Thomas Aragones, Nicola Gervasi
Bonze, a Holy Man 和尚 Yoshihisa Arai
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 Isabella Gasparini, Julie Charlet, Dreda Blow, Martha Leebolt
Prince Yamedori, a wealthy suitor 山鸟公爵(富有的求婚者) Yoshihisa Arai
Kate, Pinkerton’s American wife 凯特(平克尔顿的美国妻子 Martha Leebolt
Conductor 指挥 John Pryce-Jones
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The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.