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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
Ned Rorem
Kenneth Koch
James Holmes (Conductor)
Beverly Wolff (Bertha)
November 26, 1973
Alice Tully Hall
The work depicts the rise, fall, and eventual triumph of a mad queen who, while her kingdom is in ruins, attacks Scotland and her own nation (Norway), orders her teacher beheaded, dismisses her council, and abolishes young love before she dies—all the while supported by her loyal subjects.
Opera News, Jerry Floyd, 1-19-85; The New York Times, Peter G. Davis, 3-2-81; Opera News, Robert Jacobson, 1-19-74; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 11-28-73
"In style the text, with its pseudo-Elizabethan tone, satirizes Shakespeare's ‘King' plays; in subject, with its picture of absolute monarchy, it satirizes our civilized barbarism. Bertha could be performed by a Cast of Thousands, or by as few as six. But given the ironically grandiose situations, not to mention the orchestra which consists of one piano, economy would seem to be the keynote: stylization rather than luxury. Thus I have indicated how the sixteen characters, plus chorus, can be sung by just six singers." —N. Rorem
Not Available
SATB chorus
Masterful treatment of the vocal line and the text; tonal
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