IT is an enduring classic and a much cherished opera – and in the hands of Northern Ballet Theatre you can expect Madame Butterfly to be taken to another level.
The Yorkshire masters re-imagined the beautiful musical tragedy for a new generation and they touch down for a Sheffield run 10 years on at the Lyceum.
It is directed and choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE.
He originally created the piece based on his wife, Yoko Ichino, the internationally renowned ballerina who is now Ballet Mistress and Academy Associate Director at Northern Ballet.
The NBT version of the production premiered at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2001, based on the original Belasco play that inspired the great opera.
“When creating Madame Butterfly I wanted to incorporate an aesthetic of the traditional Japanese culture and music,” says David.
“I wanted to portray the dilemma of Butterfly who tries to change the perception of her culture, only to be betrayed by her newly adopted beliefs. Her freedom is only achieved by returning to her roots.
“Our re-orchestration of Puccini’s wonderful music, to which we have incorporated traditional Japanese music, has resulted in a fluid and dramatically powerful score for this ballet, which blends traditional Japanese dance styles with classical ballet.”
The story remains true to its heart-rending origins, namely a tale of love and infidelity. It follows a young geisha who marries dashing naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton, only to be abandoned by him while carrying his unborn child.
The loyal Butterfly awaits her husband’s re-appearance, valiantly raising their son alone in a society which has ostracised her.
When Pinkerton eventually returns to Nagaski with his new American wife, Butterfly’s doomed fate and that of her young son are sealed.
Madame Butterfly runs Tuesday until Saturday. Tickets range from £12-£34.