Madame Butterfly - Dance ☆☆☆☆4

Showing from - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 through till Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hull New Theatre - Kingston-upon-Hull

Jackie Foottit | Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Madame Butterfly reviewed by Jackie Foottit on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 for Downstage CentreMesmerising: Nortern Ballet's 'Madame Butterfly' leaps into Hull this week. (Photo by Emma Kauldhar)

A simple, yet atmospheric, stage setting; moody, yet effective lighting; rousing live orchestral music and amazingly talented dancers all combined to stun a mesmerised audience into total silence last night at the Hull New Theatre, when the Northern Ballet company brought its production of Madame Butterfly to the ballet-loving city.

But when the final curtain came down, after an unbelievably dramatic scene, that silence was well and truly broken when enthusiastic applause and loud cheers rang out. Every one was well deserved.

It was at curtain up that Perpetuum Mobile, a short but entertaining routine by nine Northern Ballet dancers, Words simply weren’t needed to get the gist of this timeless love story, which, at times, brought tears to the eyes of this hardened theatregoer.gave us a taste of what these talented and athletic youngsters are capable of. Choreographed by Christopher Hampson, the artistic director of Scottish Ballet, it whetted our appetite for the main performance.

Madame Butterfly takes us to the Japan of yesteryear, where we see American Naval Lieutenant, Pinkerton (Javier Torres), bewitched by innocent geisha girl, Butterfly (Pippa Moore) who is dancing for him and two shipmates.  

Forced to be a geisha after the death of her father leaves her all alone – Butterfly isn’t won over by the brash officer’s clumsy attempts to woo her. But when Pinkerton refuses to give up, up steps marriage broker Goro (Matthew Koon) who tells him the girl can be purchased as a bride.

The naïve Butterfly’s resistance is eventually worn down by the handsome American - her gradual seduction brilliantly brought to life by the wonderful live music of the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.


The lovers’ colourful wedding is a joyful affair, but after a night of passion, Pinkerton returns to America, leaving behind a bewildered young woman who has given up everything for the sake of love.


Words simply weren’t needed to get the gist of this timeless love story, which, at times, brought tears to the eyes of this hardened theatregoer. The stage setting, lighting, music and dancing said it all – perfectly setting the scene, whatever the mood. And, of course, the beautiful costumes did their bit in highlighting two very different cultures.

This production had everything – joy, angst, comedy, tragedy and a brilliant group of ballet dancers who, to my untrained eye, never set a ballet pump wrong. But special mention must go to Pippa Moore as Butterfly. She was simply outstanding, dominating the stage with her portrayal of a young geisha learning the hard way that the course of true love rarely runs smooth.


Choreographer: David Nixon OBE

Music: Giacomo Puccini played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia under the direction of John Pryce-Jones. Orchestration by John Longstaff


Production Information

Theatre: Hull New Theatre

Showing Until: Saturday, September 26, 2015

Production Company: Northern Ballet

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