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MAB

Booing B.F. Pinkerton: who's your favourite villain

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I have to admit to being taken aback by the barrage of booing aimed at Pinkerton at Glyndebourne earlier this week, Goro got a couple of isolated boos as well..  All the more undeserved as Joshua Guerrero was one of the best Pinkertons I've ever seen.  He took it in good part. staying in character and playing up to the audience.  Last night at ROH arch villainess Ortrud did not get booed.

 

Is Pinkerton opera's biggest villain?  I tend to think he is because of his duplicity.  If you take another Puccini villain, Baron Scarpio, he is what he is and makes no secret of his villainy.  I'd be interested in knowing other views on opera's bad guys (and girls) also if booing is appropriate in an opera such as Butterfly.

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Do you mean during the show or at the curtain calls MAB (I was not at Glyndebourne so am not clear what happened)?

 

If it was at the end one could imagine alcohol consumed during the long interval may have played a part.

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Yes, curtain calls.  I'll be interested in seeing the response to Ptolemy at my next visit.  Alcohol is always consumed at Glyndebourne, but although I've seen a production booed, it's the first time I've seen a character booed.

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Have never heard of booing a character in an opera before. And while Pinkerton isn't the nicest man in the world he does have some gorgeous music to sing and it seems a bit harsh to boo him. If this is a new trend in opera, audiences will have a field day in The Ring!

 

Maybe opera doesn't have such spectacular villains as ballet, although it does have a pretty good line in lechers. Maybe the booing of Pinkerton means that Don Giovanni, Almaviva etc will get booed in the future?

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I never ever boo an opera villain, though might consider it if the context was a bit more panto-esque - I think the witch in Hansel and Gretel is probably fair game... but generally, I'm acknowledging the singer's performance, not the shortcomings of the character.

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Oh gosh I hope this isn't starting in opera now, too.  

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This production which btw is available on line for another couple of days, is heavy on sleaze.  Goro sells very young girls to American servicemen in sham marriages, the girls are basically 'comfort women'.  In this production fifteen year old  Butterfly's friends are in school uniform adding to the disquiet.  I don't condone the booing but in this particular production, which I consider excellent, I think the audience was drawn into the story more forcibly than in other versions I've seen and reacted accordingly.

 

Hard luck on Guerrero, a tenor I very much want to hear more of.  It's a role the greats record but few have performed and the really good Pinkertons tend to sing the role early in their careers.

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I agree, MAB - I think it's a fantastic production, approaching the story with such intelligence especially in Act 1.  I saw it on tour in 2016 (when if anything it was even better, thanks to the soprano Karah Son who captured the essence of a goofy Japanese schoolgirl better than anyone I've seen in the role before or since) and again a few weeks ago at the festival, and have been recommending it to everyone.

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