‘Madama Butterfly’ ballet removed from KNB 2015 lineup

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 24, 2014 - 20:54
  • Updated : Jul 24, 2014 - 20:54
After falling on harsh public and media criticism, the country’s premiere of the much-anticipated and widely publicized ballet production of “Madama Butterfly” has been removed from the Korean National Ballet’s 2015 season lineup.

On Wednesday representatives of KNB released its final lineup for next year, which does not include its originally scheduled season opener “Madama Butterfly.”
A scene from Innsbruck Dance Company’s production of “Madama Butterfly.” (Credia)

The Austria-based Innsbruck Dance Company’s rendition of “Madama Butterfly,” featuring leading lady Kang Sue-jin, was arguably one of the year’s most highly anticipated ballet productions and was previously slated to be the season opener.

Having the dual forces of both Kang ― one of the nation’s most well-respected and iconic ballerinas ― as the lead and an internationally collaborated production that had never been staged in Korea, the news of its premiere had ballet-lovers flocking to the theaters with the highest of expectations.

A special three-day performance of “Madama Butterfly” was held at the Seoul Arts Center from July 4-6. The 2,340-seat Opera Theatre sold out all three shows.

However, despite all the hype of the new production, in which artistic director Enrique Gasa Valga firmly stated he produced the show with only Kang in mind as the lead, the ballet failed to meet much of the public’s expectations.

Considering the less-than-static reviews as well as KNB’s original announcement before the ballet’s premiere that Kang would not be playing the lead in the season opener, the company appears to have decided to scrap the production all together.

The KNB’s 2015 line-up will include: “Giselle” as the season opener, “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Seventh Symphony & The Rite of Spring,” “Swan Lake,” Rising Star 1 Gala,” “Don Quixote,” “Prince Hodong” and “The Nutcracker.”

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)