Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

Madama Butterfly

Opera North
The Lowry
16 November 2011 to 19 November 2011

We first saw Tim Albery’s version of the Puccini tear-jerker in 2007, and it was movingly effective then.

This time several principals reprise the lead roles, and chief among them is Anne Sophie Duprels, who has deepened and refined her Cio-Cio-San. Her voice is multi-coloured and has great reserves of power, her fulfilment of the teenage character is imaginative, and the sense of tragedy is inescapable.

Anne Taylor (Suzuki) and Peter Savidge (Sharpless) are again as good as we saw in 2007.

But the discovery is the new Pinkerton. Noah Stewart makes him a warm, naïve, well-meaning, all-American guy whom you can’t help liking. That works in terms of the tragic story, and Stewart has a very fine tenor voice. He doesn’t batter your eardrums with his top notes, but he has lovely tone and excellent intonation – and he is a singing actor … always better than a wooden voice machine.

The Orchestra of Opera North, under the baton of Robert Houssart, delivered the score in all its gorgeous splendour.

Reviewer: Robert Beale


Comment by Alan Hulme

Good, unfussy production that delivers the work's devastating emotional punches with considerable impact.