Despite Madama Butterfly being set in a land of subtle manners and delicate beauty, productions of the opera often abound in crude stereotypes of East and West. To Palm Beach Opera’s credit, the company’s affecting, season-opening production of Puccini’s classic indulged in none of this. While not shying from the clash of American and Japanese cultures that provides the context, this production presented the doomed teenager Cio-Cio-San and her feckless American husband Pinkerton as rounded characters from the start, not simply personifications of Japanese passivity or American cultural arrogance.


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