Dennis Law MD,
Founder, Joseph & Loretta Law Institute of Arts and Technology
Chairman, Denver International Festival of Arts & Technology
--- an unprecedented futuristic adaptation of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Ms Butterfly will be the opening production at the Denver International Festival of Arts & Technology 2019 in July produced by the Dennis Law Center for Total Music and presented by the Joseph & Loretta Law Institute of Arts and Technology. The new Ms Butterfly breaks new ground by transforming a beloved classic opera into a new form of musical theater.
Ms Butterfly is conceived as a futuristic adaptation of the original Madama Butterfly in which, about fifty years from now, an American young heiress will be similarly betrayed by a Chinese naval captain and will share the ultimate tragic fate. All the characters in the original story are reversed ethnically, revealing that human passion and tragedy can befall anyone regardless of time, race or national boundaries.
The most striking aspect of this adaptation of Puccini’s music lies in the use of a limited number of futuristic electro-acoustic musical instruments to replace the traditional symphony in order to produce a grand yet futuristic symphonic sound. However, the audience will appreciate the new and futuristic music coloration made possible by the use of digital technologies, and coupling these with the futuristic symphonic sound, will experience a totally unprecedented musical experience in this re-telling of a famous old story.
Costume designs by Ah Kuan and makeup designs by Jia Le, two of the most accomplished international theatrical designers in China, will need to rise to the occasion to create visual stunning and unforgettable appeal. Set design must also contribute a new and futuristic dimension that allows the story and its associated message to be appreciated. This combination of theatrical elements will assure that our audience experience theater in a manner they have never experienced before.
In addition, the ability for Chinese or Asian tenors to sing the role of “Pinkerton” in any theatrical production of Madama Butterfly is truly a first in the last one hundred years. This alone will make this world premiere historically memorable.
This unique adaptation using modern digital advances in music and art direction allows a beloved classic to be appreciated by a contemporary audience. The audience can feel that this emotional tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and sacrifice is not bound by race, national boundaries and history. Even an already great musical story can be enhanced by modern technologies for the betterment of all.
The year is 2419. Camille Bundy, known by everyone as “Butterfly” is a 27 years old heiress living on a luxury estate high on a hill in the suburb of Norfolk, Virginia. Her father, Andrew Bundy, a renowned Colorado entrepreneur, had died five years ago and left Butterfly with both wealth and loneliness. Chinese Ambassador Xia Lei, through his friend, Joey Gordon (Sr.VP of Matchmaker.com) had introduced Butterfly to Cpt. Pang Kedun, Commander of the Chinese aircraft carrier, Liao Ning. It was love at first sight and a seeming match made in heaven.
Act I --- Cpt. Pang Kedun, Ambassador Xia and matchmaker Joey arrive at the Bundy Estate ahead of the preplanned wedding. Their conversation reveals Pang to be a philanderer and his feelings for his bride disingenuous. Butterfly arrives and is ceremoniously presented to the groom. After guests arrive, the Ambassador administers the marriage vows but the ceremony is interrupted by the ghost of “Bundy”, Butterfly’s deceased father. Curses at the bride and groom are of no avail and the ghost is chased away by the angry Cpt. Pang. The now wedded couple enters their luxurious bedroom for their honeymoon evening.
Act II --- Over two years have passed and Butterfly is anguished by her husband’s long absence and silence. Since Cpt. Pang’s departure, Butterfly has given birth to a son. Ambassador Xia pays Butterfly a visit with a letter from Pang but is fearful to disclose its content. Xia knows that Pang has taken a new Chinese wife and this news arouses both sympathy and regrets. Amidst this emotional upheaval, Susanna, the housekeeper, announces that television news just confirmed the arrival of Cpt. Pang’s aircraft carrier, Liaoning. Butterfly is overjoyed and admonishes those present for their pessimism. She dances with Susanna and her servants in celebration and prepares to receive her prodigal husband. Overwhelmed by fatigue, she falls asleep and dreams of her sweet reunion.
Act III --- While Butterfly awaits her husband, Susanna prays for a happy outcome. In early dawn, Cpt. Pang returns with Ambassador Xia by his side, Susanna is the first one to greet them. The loyal housekeeper is mortified by the discovery that Pang has returned not to reunite with Butterfly but to bring his new Chinese wife to lay claim to the infant son. After Pang’s betrayal and request is made clear, Butterfly seems compelled to obey. Susanna helps Butterfly prepare her son for his upcoming trip. Yet when the new Mrs. Pang Jiali returns to actually take the child, an emotional and physical struggle ensues. Butterfly’s initial quiet despair turns into the psychotic rage, the rage that ultimately defines an unforgettable human tragedy!
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