Madame Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini – Boheme Opera, War Memorial, Trenton
Boheme Opera’s presentation of the perennial favorite, Madame Butterfly, was graced by outstanding singing and orchestral work. This is why one attends operas – for the voices, the music and the production values in that order. This presentation was without flaw in the first two categories.
In the third category however, management made a fundamental error. The inexplicable decision to “update” it from mid 19th Century to post World War II Nagasaki made no sense at all. At the time, Nagasaki was a smoking, radioactive ruin and one suspects its few remaining inhabitants would have been notably disinclined to fall in love with American officers. This change in era produced some minor anomalies in the text as well. American warships were no longer being painted white and cannons were no longer being fired when ships entered Japanese ports.