'If proof were needed for the proposition that direction and staging can transform even a classic of the repertoire into something higher, better, more luscent and ravishing than it is already is, this brilliant production of "Madam Butterfly" is it.'
AC Grayling - Online Review London
'The intimate connection with theatre is clear in this, his operatic debut, where a cinematographic eye is combined with the visual imagination of the Chinese choreographer Carolyn Choa, the associate producer. The final result is a Madam Butterfly of stunning elegance and of a beauty at the same time delicate, poignant and imposing, where each gesture, each dance step and each movement of a fan has meaning and dramatic impact.'
Barbara Diana - When East meets West - Il giornale della musica - 6 Nov 2005
'The first thing to say about English National Opera's new Puccini production is that it is stunningly pretty. The second thing to say is that, well, it is stunningly pretty. And the third thing…
Forget the opera - admire the stage pictures. This Butterfly is so visually entrancing it doesn't matter what the story is about or whether it touches the heart. From the first note to last, the eyes have it.'
Andrew Clark - Financial Times - 7 Nov 2005
This is just a fraction of the immense critical response that the new production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly drew after its opening performances at the English National Opera in early November. Anthony Minghella, the Oscar-winning film director renowned for his films, The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley and Cold Mountain, has made a stunning debut in the opera arena. 'Collectively, we [the creative team] have always admired the austerity of Japanese staging and how incredible precision is used to achieve great beauty. Our challenge is to create transparency through unadorned yet beautiful series of images. We don't want to interfere with the composer's intentions, rather expose them in a moving evening of music. It's a wonderful opportunity,' said Anthony Minghella before the premiere. In collaboration with his creative team he seems to have used the opportunity to the full. This Madama Butterfly was recognized as the Best Opera Production in the Laurence Olivier Awards 2006.
Premiere: 23 March 2006