Madame Butterfly -- Northern Ballet

Last Wednesday and still running, Northern Ballet revived their splendid production of Madame Butterfly, Puccini's adored operatic masterwork.

It was enterprisingly framed within two mimed Japanese sequences which pointed to the tragic conclusion of the drama.

Guest artist Kiko Amemori made an exquisite Butterfly, regularly presented with her swirling handmaidens and intensely moving in her later torment.

Kenneth Tindall's dastardly US naval Lieutenant Pinkerton treacherously deserted his bride at the very moment of the music's orgasmic climax -- perfidy indeed!

After the interval came Butterfly's cruel wait, though in the ballet, unlike the opera, we witnessed her husband but yes other life in America, courtesy of another Puccini piece: Crisantemi. Finally he reappears, only to go off with their child. Butterfly kills herself, the honourable Japanese way.

All this was delivered to an immensely impressed but scandalously thin first night audience. The opera-going hordes in Leeds had turned their back on the cash-starved ballet, something which would not have happened at Covent Garden where no invidious distinction is made between, say, the Royal Ballet's Manon and the Royal Opera's.

* Leeds Grand, until Saturday. Phone 0844 848 2705.

John Pettitt

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