Madame Butterfly
Review by Willard Manus

Following in the wake of Robert Wilson's 2008 elaborately crafted version of MADAME BUTTERFLY, Los Angeles Opera recently mounted, in a co-production with San Francisco Opera, a simpler, more traditional interpretation of the Puccini masterpiece.

As directed by Ron Daniels and conducted by Grant Gershon, this MADAME BUTTERFLY took place on Michael Yeargan's minimalist set and mostly took its drama and power from the singing. A strong cast headed by the Ukranian soprano Oksana Dyka as Cio-Cio-San and Brandon Jovanovich as Pinkerton--and by Eric Owens as Consul Sharpness--provided the vocal fireworks. They were backed by the stalwart voices of Milena Kitic as Suzuki; Rodell Rosel as Goro; and Stefan Szkafarowsky as The Bonze. D'Ana Lombard had a brief but indelible moment as Kate, Pinkerton's American wife.
Musn't forget Puccini's music, though. It carries the action--and the singers--on its sturdy shoulders, tossing off one glorious tune after another. It's the main reason L.A. Opera had a sold-out run with MADAME BUTTERFLY.

On January 19, L.A. Opera will offer (at Walt Disney Concert Hall) RENEE FLEMING AND SUSAN GRAHAM IN RECITAL. The evening will also feature Los Angeles Philharmonic. L.A. Opera will resume its 2012/2013 season on March 9 with a production of THE FLYING DUTCHMAN by Richard Wagner.

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave. For tickets and information, call 213-972-8001 or visit