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Santa Fe Opera
Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

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Explore the Santa Fe Opera | Discovering Our Home in the Land of Enchantment - Ft. Robert Redford

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Review: ‘M. Butterfly’ Metamorphoses Again, as an Opera

David Henry Hwang has returned to his Tony-winning play with a libretto for Huang Ruo’s new work. But can its story change with the times? It was inevitable, really. Hwang’s Tony Award-winning script, from 1988, came to him when he saw that he could use the Orientalist stereotypes of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” as a mirror to explore how, for two decades, the French diplomat Bernard Boursicot (renamed Rene Gallimard in the play) carried on an affair with the Chinese opera singer and spy Shi Pei Pu (renamed Song Liling), only to discover, amid a lurid espionage case, that “she” had been a “he” all along. The cast is an exemplary one, too. Mark Stone makes for a suitably worn, confused Gallimard, and he sings his thorny vocal lines with impressive shape. The more minor parts are neatly delivered, especially Hongni Wu’s amused Comrade Chin and Kevin Burdette’s connivingly bureaucratic ambassador to China.

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01 August 2022www.nytimes.comDavid Allen

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