A 15-year-old innocent Japanese girl and a famous Parisian courtesan came to Munich at the same time. The Bayerische Staatsoper built a nice Japanese house, a beautiful garden with a long wall with Asian paintings, and a nice wooden bridge to connect the back stage for Cio-Cio San. Well, she killed herself at the end still, but that happened in her nicely built home, without her American husband, her son and her maid. What about the famous Violetta? She is ranked at No. 2 (according to Wikipedia) while Cio-Cio San is only No. 8, but she only owns a mattress when she’s dying. The only comfort for her is that she has both Germonts beside her when she passed away.
For Butterfly, her guests at the wedding were invited to her beautiful garden, across the well-built bridge. On the other hand, Violetta’s toasting happened outside some black doors. I was hoping to see what’s happening inside at the party, but they have another layer of red doors inside, covering up everything. Suspicious huh? All the guests had to drink and dance outdoor, such a poor crowd as it must be cold since there are dried leaves all over the ground…
Cio-Cio San’s house has several compartments with sliding doors, gorgeous roof and some photos of her husband. As for Violetta, nobody knows how her place looks like, because we were brought to a playground, with a seesaw and a swing, and tons of dried leaves on the floor (the same I’ve seen at the party before, so they must have lived very close to where they party three months ago). Oh, I forgot, there are some wooden chairs, some standing and some lying on the ground, which later showed up in Violetta’s bedroom. Well, at least I could see the backstage exit, so we as the audience know that Alfredo and Violetta have a way to get out from where they live.
Flora was unfortunate to be Violetta’s good friend because she didn’t get a house to hold her party as well. It was again outdoor and she invited a bunch of Zombies (instead of Gypsy girls and bull-fighters) to entertain her guests, with the same dried leaves from Violetta’s playground on the floor. Then a group of well-dressed gentlemen were gambling somewhere outdoor since I really couldn’t identify where that is, Flora’s yard, a garden, a park?
Here comes the best part. Let us see how both famous foreign ladies died in Munich. Like I told you before, there are many compartments in Cio-Cio San’s house, so she disappeared into one of the small corner after her final aria and then appeared lying on the floor at the ff chord. Honestly, it was not powerful enough because we wanted to see how she killed herself. No blood on the stage??? Bummer…
Now finally we get to see how Violetta’s room looks like, two chairs and one single mattress. According to the lighting, I am pretty sure it is a rectangular room. Suddenly, the zombies appeared again in the playground, singing and doing their zombie dance in the dark. Scary! So Violetta lay on her mattress and sang for quite a long time, and poor Annina and the doctor had to bend over while singing to her, since they were forced to sit on the chair “stolen” from the playground. Violetta must have sold everything she owns, until she had to use the broken chairs from the playground. She used to be so rich! That bastard Alfredo must have made her sold all her belongings.
Two tragedies in a row could really make me sad, but fortunately (or unfortunately) these two productions were not that touching, so I didn’t drop a single tear. We will talk about the singers tomorrow, need to brush up on Wagner now!