‘Butterfly’ a study in beauty, tragedy

  • By Jackson Holtz
  • Monday, May 7, 2012 11:30am
  • Life

Seattle Opera closes the 2011 – 2012 season with a gorgeous “Madama Butterfly.”

The season opened last summer with the hugely successful “Porgy and Bess,” and now closes on another high note with this audience favorite, the great tragedy by Puccini.

On Saturday, in front of an crowd of about 3,000 in McCaw Hall and another 7,000 watching a simulcast at KeyArena, the opera opened with cast, orchestra and crew firing on all cylinders.

Soprano Patricia Racette, who is internationally known as the current best performer of Butterfly, proved why she’s won the acclaim. She sang beautifully and embodied the role, drawing the audience into her passion and grief.

Italian tenor Stefano Secco matched Racette with dashing seduction and cruel, wanton abandonment. I was most impressed by Seattle Opera Young Artist Sarah Larsen who sang Suzuki. The empathy and emotions of her role helped buoy Butterfly, and added to this terrific performance.

Of course, Lynnwood 6-year-old Gabriella Mercado, who played Butterfly’s son, was wonderfully sweet. She stole the audience’s hearts, giving a glimmer of hope in this otherwise heart-breaking story.

The sets and costumes are spare, pushing the focus onto the music and drama.

“Butterfly” is a good exit to the season, and also a fitting introduction to next season which features three Puccini operas, “Turandot,” “La Boheme,” and “Sour Angelica.”

All that, of course, is a warm up to the 2013 summer production of Wagner’s “Ring.”

For tickets are more information, go towww.seattleopera.org .

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