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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: “Madame Butterfly” reviewer effusive in praise for production

 (The Spokesman-Review / A performance of “Madame Butterfly” in Spokane by the Boston grand opera company “evoked strenuous applause,” The Spokesman-Rev)
(The Spokesman-Review / A performance of “Madame Butterfly” in Spokane by the Boston grand opera company “evoked strenuous applause,” The Spokesman-Rev)

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Boston Grand Opera and Pavlowa Ballet came to Spokane’s Auditorium Theater, and, according to reviewer Hannah Hinsdale, all of Spokane society was there.

“The women were mostly in long evening wraps, the young girls wearing capes of velvet that were all the colorings of fruit sundaes, peach and strawberry,” she wrote. The men “trailed in behind their wives, a look of aggrieved protest on their faces and their stiffly starched evening-shirted bosoms creaked protestingly.”

The opera was “Madame Butterfly” and Hinsdale said that “a deaf person could have enjoyed the evening, for the colors in the scenery, the postures of the heroine, the lighting effects, and last of all, the ballet, were music to the eye indeed.”

When the opera’s heroine, played by Tamaki Miura, came gliding over a Japanese bridge onto the stage, “all of the grace of all the Japanese maidens ever written of by Kipling were in the motions of her walk.” She carried a “wisteria-bedecked parasol.”

“The little figure in the gray kimono made comprehensible all the Japanese prints ever made, and her expression in tragic moments were those of the Japanese masks come to life.”

The ballet that followed had a completely different theme.

“It embodied all the beauty of winter,” wrote Hinsdale. “It was all the fairy stories of snowdrops and ice maidens, elves and fairies. The audience were all children again, watching it.”

At the end, said Hinsdale, the audience had “bathed their spirits for a few hours in immortal things.”

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