Madama Butterfly
McCarter Theatre, Opera New Jersey
Abraham-Chavez Theatre, El Paso Opera
by Giacomo Puccini
directed by David Grabarkewitz
lights and projections Barry Steele, costumes Patricia A. Hibbert
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production of Madama 
Butterfly was appealing to 
look at, with a set design 
which would fit well into a 
Japanese house and eye-
catching lighting effects, 
including trees which 
effectively changed colors to 
luminaries marking the way 
for Pinkerton’s return. "
by Nancy Plum
Town Topics

To evoke Butterfly’s world, the 
sets centered on a Tiffany 
glass-like frame with 
projections of a starry night for 
her duet with Pinkerton and 
cascading flowers filling her 
home as she prepares for his 
return. David Grabarkewitz’s 
fluid, attractive staging 
enhanced the overall effect 
and showcased Los’ superb 
By Ronni Reich
The Star-Ledger
circular, slightly raised front of 
the stage and a third 
connected by steps to a 
catwalk through which cast 
members entered and exited.

Scenic designer Julia Noulin-
Merat's bigger achievement is 
a series of large fusana, or 
Japanese sliding doors 
typical of the 19th century 
setting. They loomed from the 
top to the bottom of the stage, 
forming a kind of wall to 
separate the larger action 
from the more intimate 

They also doubled as a large-

scale canvas for lighting 
designer Barry Steele's 
evocative color splotches and 
video imagery, which included 
a star-crossed wedding night 
and Butterfly's eerie, silent 
movie-like romantic fever 

There's no illusions about 
EPO's "Madama Butterfly." 
Opera is back after a two-year 
absence, and that's a dream 
come true for starving 

El Paso Times
Doug Pullen

Aiding immeasurably in the 
enchanting romance were the 
gorgeous set and lighting 
effects. Scenic designer Julia 
Noulin-Merat turned the 
Chavez Theatre stage into a 
lovely Japanese garden 
leading into the airy cottage 
with an understated 
ambiance. Large sliding shoji 
screens at front and rear 
reaching from top to stage 
floor were moved to create 
separate areas.

Enchanting romance of 
‘Madama Butterfly’
By Betty Ligon