opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Puccini Festival Orchestra and Choir
Director: Vivien Alexandra Hewitt
Sets: Kan Yasuda
Costumes: Regina Schrecker
In Spring 2000, the Puccini Festival Foundation, headquartered in Torre del Lago Puccini (near Viareggio), contacted Regina Schrecker and engaged her to create costumes for its planned production of “Madame Butterfly”. The elegant, barely stylized costumes were intended to harmonize perfectly with the monumental sculptures created by Japanese set designer, Kan Yasuda, the first of his works to appear in the Puccini Festival Foundation’s ambitious super-project “Sculpting an Opera.”
Regina Schrecker had been recommended to the Puccini Festival by the Japanese Embassy and by the Italy/Japan Foundation because of her deep knowledge of Japanese customs during the period in which Madame Butterfly is set. With her unstoppable dedication and her deep respect for Japanese symbolism, Regina began to “translate” the many ornate variations of the traditional kimono until they had become a symbolic, stylized whole capable of producing an enormous visual impact.
This production achieved international success, touring worldwide from Tokyo to Osaka, Nagasaki, Baden Baden, Baltimore, Monte Carlo, South America and at Aichi/Nagoya Universal Expo 2005, as a special event.
Its success is also testified by the never-ending words of praise from critics and public: “With spare, symbolic sculptures in lieu of props, the eye focuses squarely on the characters, their roller-coaster emotions and the final, brutal crash of values. And with most of the action taking place out on the lip of the Lyric Opera House stage, closer to the audience than usual, the sense of immediacy is considerably enhanced. On Saturday night, the production’s striking look, director Vivien Hewitt’s incisive guidance and the cast’s intense connection to words and music yielded an indelible performance” (Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, 2003).