Low and behold, a rave review on Theatre Mania!
And now the cat's out of the bag - Butterfly's Trouble is about revolution. From the review: "...while the plot still evokes tears it seems a bit shallow and faded these days. This new version by Ray Luedeke breathes new life into the Puccini work as a real piece of theater, and may mark the direction for opera to take as a living art form in the coming century."
The reviewer divined my perspective and my purpose exactly. I could care less about saving or resuscitating the body of repertoire commonly associated with opera: Verdi, Mozart, Wagner, et al. As theatre, they stopped working long ago. Rather I'm interested in the use of music to enhance and support the drama. As a composer, I am interested in the possibilities of the genre called opera and not in the repertoire commonly called opera.
And so I reworked Puccini. I fixed the dramaturgical problems that were capable of being fixed. Through the use of a chamber group (carefully orchestrated) and of spoken dialogue, I made sure that the drama and all the nuances of the drama (in English) could be understood.
Not 15 minutes from my NYC apartment is the Metropolitan Opera. For me, this particular emporer has no clothes. The Met has a budget that runs in the hundreds of millions, while mine is simply in the hundreds. Nevertheless, watch out, Metropolitan Opera!
(Proviso! Friend Bob, don't take offence. I'm sure your job is secure, and I do dearly love those Met tickets you sometimes have for me.)