Plazas spreading her wings
Plazas in the title role.
The highly acclaimed production of Puccini’s opera, combining cinematic imagery and traditional Japanese theatre, will continue Minghella’s legacy with a season during Perth International Arts Festival 2015, where Plazas will reprise her role alongside original conductor David Parry.
The international cast will be joined by WA Opera Chorus and West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
“I’d worked on other roles before but nothing like this with someone as renowned and famous as Anthony Minghella,” Plazas said.
“He said from day one he wanted to keep it as simple and clear as possible. Nothing extrane- ous, no extras that weren’t to do with the emotion and story. It’s already a huge piece and undertaking, so to want to keep it down to the raw detail was fantastic.”
Plazas, who last performed with WA Opera in 2007’s LaBoheme, said Minghella had longed to work on an opera since directing an opera scene in TheTalentedMrRipley.
“It sparked something in him, and his wife Carolyn is half Japanese, so they liked the idea of sourcing that culture together,” she said.
“He was going to do another opera most definitely. The MET were already in talks about other projects, as well as the (London) Coliseum, but his untimely death prevented all that.”
Describing the role of Cio-Cio San as “her Everest”, Plazas said her favourite part of the tragic love story, about a Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval officer, was Butterfly’s bravery.
“I love the fact that she is so intensely brave without realising that she is,” Plazas said.
“The thing that kills her is the hope. She lives on hope and fantasy in essence to get away from something she’s feared all her life.”
Mary Plazas is set to star as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.