Puccini's Madame Butterfly has been shining on the world stage for over a century, celebrated by audiences as both a classic opera and a tragic love story. This old masterpiece is getting a modern makeover with world's first ever 3D silver screen version.
Footage for the film was captured during live performances at the British Royal Opera House by 3D technology company RealD. Filmmakers say they used visual effects to enhance the tragic love story of Cio-Cio-San, a young and loyal Japanese woman, and B.F. Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the US Navy.
According to Bob Mayson, executive producer, the 3D experience is "better than the best seat in the house."
"It really delivers a close, emotional experience, and when you see it on the big screen with the subtitles and the depth, you are really immersed in the story," he said.
The production guides audiences through scenes as if they are on the set, while multi-angle close-ups capture every facial expression of the actors.
"In one-on-one dialogues between the characters," said Mayson, "the 3D close-ups heighten the experience and draw the audience deeper into the story."
Madame Butterfly 3D is the second 3D opera jointly made by RealD and the British Royal Opera House, after Carmen was released as the first 3D opera and received worldwide praise last year.
New digital technology has revolutionized the way audiences experience opera with crisp, ultra-realistic images and clever cinematography.
Phil Streather, producer of Madame Butterfly 3D, says RealD 3D adds "a lot of intimacy and roundness." After creating a virtual set of the opera, technicians calculated where to place cameras on the real stage, usually only 4 or 5 feet away from actors. During the cutting process, Streather said, decisions were music-based not image-based, retaining the characteristics of the opera.
The Madame Butterfly 3D experience will be available overseas at a fraction of live opera tickets starting March 5.