William Forsythe Study # 3
The Forsythe Company


When Madame Butterfly, Puccini’s opera was presented for the first time in February, 1904, it was given a lukewarm reception. The criticism leveled at the composer was that he had dipped into his preceding works, reusing their motifs and, in short, had turned something old into something new. Puccini looked again at his work, reorganizing it and, a few months later, put it on at the Teatro Grande de Brescia, a town in Northeast Italy. The opera received a triumphant reception there. When, in 2012, William Forsythe received the invitation to create Study # 3 in this same theatre in Brescia, he began to wonder what the significance was of this invitation, and what possible parallel could there be between his own work and the story behind the creation of Puccini’s opera. This was when he decided the inspiration for this latest piece would be his repertory and thirty years of experience, by re-presenting, in the literal sense of the word, the vocal and gestural elements that he has developed for his numerous choreographies. The result was a sort of kinetic opera, which takes the counterpoint of the past, whilst drawing on it at the same time, making it both alien and familiar.