Anthony Minghella and Madama Butterfly: A Conversation with Sir Mark Elder

Meghna Christina Mudaliar


Anthony Minghellas production of Puccinis acclaimed Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006 starred Chilean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Dom in the titular role of a fifteen-year-old (in Act I) girl from Nagasaki who converts to Christianity to marry a westerner only to learn that it is no more than a marriage of convenience for him. Acclaimed for Academy-Award winning films such as The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, Minghella also had several plays to his credit and was as much a master of stagecraft as he was of cinema.

The production was conducted by Sir Mark Elder, who has been the music director of the English National Opera (1979-1993) and the HallOrchestra (1999-present) as well as the President of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (2014-present). The following conversation, conducted shortly after Anthony Minghellas death, contains Sir Marks reflections on working with Minghella and on the challenges associated with bringing Puccinis masterpiece to the stage.

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