Three New Sopranos to Take on Title Role of MADAMA BUTTERFLY at the Met, Beg. 1/16

Three New Sopranos to Take on Title Role of MADAMA BUTTERFLY at the Met, Beg. 1/16
A scene from Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY.
Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Three sopranos will sing their first Met performances of the title role in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Met this season.

South African soprano Amanda Echalaz makes her Met debut as Cio-Cio-San on January 16, with Philippe Auguin conducting a cast that also includes Bryan Hymel and Elizabeth DeShong in their company role debuts as Pinkerton and Suzuki and American baritone Scott Hendricks in his Met debut as Sharpless.

Beginning April 4, Kristine Opolais, who made a notable Met debut last season in Puccini's La Rondine, will sing Cio-Cio-San opposite James Valenti as Pinkerton, Maria Zifchak as Suzuki, and Dwayne Croft as Sharpless, with Marco Armiliato conducting.

On May 1, Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi will lead his first company performances of Puccini's sweeping tragedy, with a cast that includes Hui He and Gwyn Hughes Jones in Met role debuts as Cio-Cio-San and Pinkerton. Adam Diegel will sing Pinkerton on February 7 and 19.

Amanda Echalaz has sung Cio-Cio-San with Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Bavarian State Opera, and Cape Town Opera. She has sung numerous Puccini heroines, including the title roles in Manon Lescaut (at La Monnaie in Brussels and the Polish National Opera in Warsaw) and in Tosca (at Royal Opera, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Berlin State Opera, and Santa Fe Opera). She sang Tatiana in the premiere of Deborah Warner's production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at English National Opera in 2011.

Kristine Opolais made her Met debut last season as Magda in La Rondine. She has sung Cio-Cio-San with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Berlin State Opera. Her recent appearances include the title role in Tosca at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the title role in Janá?ek's Jen?fa at Zurich Opera; the title role in Dvo?ák's Rusalka at the Bavarian State Opera; and Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème at the Vienna State Opera and the Latvian National Opera. Later this season, she returns to Covent Garden to star in a new production of Manon Lescaut.

Hui He made her Met debut in 2010 in the title role of Verdi's Aida and returned to reprise the role in 2012. She has sung Cio-Cio-San at the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Arena di Verona, Palermo's Teatro Massimo, Torino's Teatro Regio, Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice, Copenhagen Opera, and the Greek National Opera. This season, she also sings the title roles in both Tosca and Ponchielli's La Gioconda at Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Elizabeth DeShong's previous roles at the Met include Hermia in both Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island, the Priestess in Aida, and First Norn in Wagner's Götterdämmerung. Later this season, she will reprise her Hermia in the first Met revival of The Enchanted Island.

Maria Zifchak has sung more than 300 Met performances in 36 roles, most frequently Suzuki, which she has sung 62 times with the company. Her other roles this season were Brian's Mother in the Met premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys, a Voice from Above in Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Giovanna in Verdi's Rigoletto.

Bryan Hymel made an unexpected Met debut last season as Aeneas in Berlioz's Les Troyens, in a series of performances that included an international Live in HD transmission. He has sung Pinkerton at Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera. Later this season, he will sing the role at the Vienna State Opera. Hymel is the winner of the Met's 2013 Beverly Sills Artist Award.