Hei-Kyung Hong Set for Metropolitan Opera's MADAMA BUTTERFLY in 2016

Hei-Kyung Hong will add a new role to her extensive repertory when she sings her first performances of the title character in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Met next season. Hong will sing Cio-Cio-San on February 19, 22, 27, March 2, and March 5.

Hong replaces the originally announced Patricia Racette, a celebrated Cio-Cio-San at the Met since 2007, who has decided to retire the role from her repertory. While Racette will no longer be on the Met roster for 2015-16, she will return to the company-where she has sung 18 roles, including seven acclaimed interpretations of Puccini heroines-in future seasons.

"It is with deep gratitude yet heavy-heartedness that I have decided to retire my beloved Cio-Cio-San," Racette said. "She has been a part of my life for many years! Of all the productions of Madama Butterfly in which I have had the privilege to bring this character to life, the Met's production will always occupy a special place in my heart."

Hong, a winner of the 1982 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, made her company debut in 1984 as Servilia in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito. She has gone on to sing more than 350 Met performances in 24 roles, most recently Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen, the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, and Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème, a role she has sung more than 60 times at the Met and will repeat with the company next season.

These performances of Madama Butterfly, conducted by Karel Mark Chichon in his Met debut, will also star Maria Zifchak as Suzuki, Massimo Giordano as Pinkerton, and Artur Rucinski in his Met debut as Sharpless.

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