My New Work: Madama Butterfly

Set Design for Puccini's Madama Butterfly - Act 1
Madama Butterfly - Act 1

Here we are with my first image for Puccini's perennial tear-jerker, Madama Butterfly.  I wanted this to be simple...a timber and paper house with moving walls, an expanse of grass and a view to the harbour below.

With this series I pay homage to the undeniably kitsch visual language of 50's and 60's album covers and print work.  Especially the Japonisme from the era, all hyper-saturated pastels, combined with some of the more traditional watercolour landscapes from the 19th century.

One of the best things about the traditional use of Japanese architecture is the visual versatility and how easy it to, with a few simple adjustments, vary the dynamics of the space.  More images will follow as my concept for this develops.  

As usual when designing, I like to totally immerse myself in the work and listen to as many different recordings as I can.  Butterfly has been a big part of my music collection ever since I found an original pressing of highlights from the Callas/Karajan recording for $1 when I was a young teen.  

Thanks to Spotify I have managed to listen to many recordings previously unavailable to me but to be honest with you I do seem to go back to my old favourites, often for a reason.  This recording for one, Renata Tebaldi's first studio recording from 1951.  While there is so much to love in her second, stereo recording with Bergonzi and Serafin, this always seems to have more of an impact on me.