Photographer: Randall L. Schieber
Started from last summer, I was so lucky to get a chance and joined the opera work ” Madama Butterly”. It was a production from Opera Columbus, and as a student in OSU Dance Department, I joined this “re-telling” of the story as a female servant.
As a student from China, I think because of the Asian elements the opera put into, more and more people in Asian got to know this opera. And for me, I don’t like the ending of the original version, since Butterfly gave her son a flag of the U.S before she suicided even that American man abandoned and cheated her for a long time.
Before we started the rehearsal, I was really curious about what are we going to re-tell this story from the perspective of American and reveal the contemporary opinion of this love story. Susan Van Pelt Petry is our choreographer. I was surprised that we used American sign language combining with dance. I feel it is a clever method since we are going to tell a narrative with amount of details. I think it is really a good way to make the narrative clear conveyed rather than using some abstract body language to let the audience guess the actual meaning.
Photographer: Randall L. Schieber
Another thing I feet good to collaborate with singer in an opera is that I feel totally connected with them. The singers are using music to communicate with each other and we are using body to communicate with them. We are not separated as two groups to dance and to sing. We all have our own character in it, and we are all communicating within this big community. Thank you for our director Crystal Manich and our Choreographer. They really made a good choice to connect everyone together and made this opera a success.
love this version we made. The comparison between the reality and dream made a curve for this opera, pushed the emotion to the highest point and gave the audience a big drop psychologically to feel the dramatic of the opera. Butterfly was conveyed as a vivid character in front of us. We can see her happiness, her anger, her hope and her despair. She is a epitome of everyone who encountered a failure in love.
For the costume, although it is not that “Japanese” from the perspective of an Asian person, I still love it. I can see the understanding of East elements and combining with his personal and contemporary perspective in the costume. And for the lighting and projection, it really creates the scenery in a clear way to help understand the time, space and even emotion.
And I have to say that I really love the big moving moon on stage! It was one of the important representations of time passing in the background. And I still remember one day of our stage rehearsal was the mid-autumn festival in China, which is a holiday for family to get together. When I was kneeling down on the stage and looking at that beautiful, round and bright moon, I almost cried at that time. The round shape means “together and perfection” in Chinese and I felt moving and perfect at that moment.
I want to thank for everyone working in this opera:
Director: Crystal Manich
Choreographer: Susan Van Pelt Petry
Set and costume designer: Court Watson
Lighting and Projection designer: Tlaloc Lopez-Watermann
Stage Manager: Hester Warren Steijn
Condutor: Kathy Kelly
Asst. Conductor/CM: Jason Hiester
Rehearsal Pianist: Barbara Sahr
American Sign Language Director: Bennett Whitaker
All the casts: Janet Szepei Todd, Daniel Montenegro, Eric Montenegro, Zoie Reems, Thomas Petrushka, Karolyn Lee Gholston, Chandler Johnson, Jeff MacMullen, Riccardo Jimenez.
All the dancers: Marissa Thomas, Elyssa Shayna, Kelsey Kempner, Danielle Barker, Sydney Samson, Jordan McDowell, Dian Jing
All the singers and music players!
It was a great experience to work with you all! You all did a great job! Toi Toi Toi!