Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Opera and Puppetry

Last Saturday at a local theatre in Great Barrington, MA, Madama Butterfly was broadcasted from the MET in New York City. I thought the puppet was wonderful and it stimulated thoughts to use with children. Reading stories with the children and creating puppets with them, planning them out, and then have the students perform using their puppets. On Blind Summit's web site look at some of their other wonderful puppets. I note here that when I say children we can use this with students of all ages.
The puppet was manipulated by three puppeteers, one controlled the hands, another the feet and another the head, they also looked like they truly enjoyed their roles.

See what is noted about this creative use of puppetry:

The new Madama Butterfly made by the English National Opera, Lithuanian National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, Madam Butterfly's child, known sometimes as "Sorrow" and sometimes as "Trouble" is played by a puppet. Blind Summit created the puppets and made the puppetry happen.

"The production really felt like a pivotal moment for UK Puppetry"
D. Max Pryor, British Council On Tour Magazine

Love him or hate him, this little guy certainly caused a fuss:

“In the aisles and lobbies during the second intermission of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” which opened the season on Monday night before a star-studded audience, patrons could be overheard heatedly debating the puppet used to portray Butterfly’s little boy.

This nonspeaking minor character is typically played by a cute child in a sailor suit. In this production the director Anthony Minghella has introduced a small puppet boy manipulated by three puppeteers cloaked in black who stand behind him. The child moves with eerily human gestures, and his baldish head has a wizened, hopeful yet anxious look.

Some people thought it was “more real than any real child they could have had,” as one patron put it. Others thought it was intriguing but very strange. Somewhere in the house, Peter Gelb, the new general manager of the Met, must have been beaming.
New York Times, 29.9.06

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