It is the most subtle of facial gestures that matter when you go to see a live performance. However, when you go to a grand venue and your seat is not at the front of the house for reasons of being tardy in obtaining your ticket or lack of inclination to pay a premium, you will suffer a major blow. You will miss those crucial details.
In opera, one can argue, the music may compensate that shortcoming. I beg to differ. Beauty finds its way into us through different avenues. In an audiovisual performance, the aesthetics of theatrical form goes hand in hand with the music. To appreciate the whole package, you need to enjoy both sides.
That is why I say opera in 3D cinemas is a good experience and removes the obstacle of distance that is a common opera house problem. And it’s more accessible because of its lower price tag.
Madam Butterfly 3D is such an example. The 3D format – if you can forgive the clunky glasses – creates an intimacy that resembles front row viewing. It goes one level up when the camera hovers overhead and pans across, giving a sensation that wouldn’t be possible for a human being without powers of flying in low speed.
Watch trailer here:
This is the second collaboration between London’s Royal Opera House and RealD that captures a live performance with 3D cameras and brings it for worldwide cinema screenings. The first experience was Carmen 3D.
Madam Butterfly is the story of a Japanese geisha’s love for an American naval officer, whose thoughtless toying with love is the catalyst for this tragic story. Liping Zhang appears as the Butterfly of the title, Cio-Cio-San, and James Valenti makes an especially dashing Pinkerton.
Madam Butterfly 3D is directed for cinema by Julian Napier and produced by Phil Streather. The original stage production was directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier with costume designs by Agostino Cavalca and set designs by Christian Fenouillat. The music is by Giacomo Puccini and the libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. It was filmed in RealD 3D during live performances at the Royal Opera House in July 2011. It will be released in the UK March 5.