Learn from 'Madame Butterfly'

By dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
Sept. 5, 2012 at 4:05 a.m.

You know how it is when you meet a guy and you think he's the best thing that ever was, so it seems totally reasonable to change your life, your religions, your hairstyle, whatever it takes to make it work.

Yeah, don't do that. If Mr. Wonderful doesn't like you as you are, throwing out everything that made you won't be much help.

Case in point, "Madame Butterfly," the story of a young Japanese geisha who gives up everything to marry a young American naval lieutenant. While Butterfly is in this marriage for real, Pinkerton, the man she is putting so much at risk for, isn't quite as serious about her - he intends to throw her over as soon as he finds a proper American wife. If you've ever seen Puccini's opera of the same name, you know that this story doesn't end well.

The opera, based on a short story, was composed by Puccini more than a century ago, and it's still one of the mainstays for opera companies around the world.

Don't go to the Wortham Center expecting to hear a lot of singing, though. The ballet is a much newer work, created by choreographer Stanton Welch in the 1990s.

The ballet uses the same score as the opera, but features the artistry of the Houston Ballet rather than the pipes of the Houston Opera.

Ballet is an amazing feat to witness. Watching some of the world's best athletes make flying through the air look effortless is a wonder well worth the price of a ticket.

Pair this with Puccini's achingly beautiful score, and a story that always leaves the audience in tears, and you really can't go wrong.

But don't let a little guaranteed catharsis deter you from checking out this production. It's never wise to give up too much of yourself. We've all been there. No matter how foolish you tell yourself Butterfly is, you can't help but feel for her as her world comes crashing down. We all know how it's going to end for her, but it never fails to wring your heart when it happens. She trusted someone she should not have trusted. But then, haven't we all?



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