The Legend of the Phoenix is one of the primary archetypal legends that sits in our psyche…death and rebirth, loosing and winning, an endless cycle of life.
It was symbolical to witness this in Venice in the world famous Theatro La Fenice (Phoenix in Italian).
In 1774 The San Benedetto Theater, the leading Opera House in Venice for more than 40 years, was burned to the ground. After rebuilding the Opera House it was renamed La Fenice, symbolizing it’s rebirth. In 1986, it was damaged by fire again and managed to rise from its ashes one more time.
I saw the production of Madame Butterfly, the night I was there. One of the top 10 operas staged in the tragic tale of love between an American marine and a Japanese Geisha. Set design and costumes design was extremely modernized which added an interesting twist to the story, making it timeless.
At the end of the story, Madame Butterfly commits Hara-kiri, a Japanese suicide, since Pinkerton abandoned her and remarried Kate (an American wife). Kate offered to adopt Madam Butterflies’ son (that she had with Pinkerton) who she is not able to support financially.
This story always makes me cry. It is very sad and you can always see how it gets repeated over and over again in every part of the world. Broken hearts, broken families, financial instability of single mothers…
My wish was to see the production modernized in a way that it will show Madam Butterfly become an independent and strong woman and take care of her son without giving up on life. I wished that she would rise up from the ashes of her depression, like the bird of Phoenix. That would have modernized the story for me more than the set and the costumes…don’t you think?