Portland Opera Opens 55th Season With MADAMA BUTTERFLY
Portland Opera will mark the start of the 2019/20 season with Giacomo Puccini's powerful drama Madama Butterfly. This production will feature the U.S. debut of acclaimed soprano Hiromi Omura as the title character, a role she has sung with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, the Latvian National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and The New National Theatre Tokyo. This piece tells the story of a young wife and mother named Cio-Cio-San, in Nagasaki, Japan, who waits for the return of her beloved B.F. Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the United States Navy. Written in 1903, and last seen on the Portland Opera stage in 2012, Puccini's stunning and emotional work continues to be one of the most popular operas performed in the United States. Portland Opera will present four performances of Madama Butterfly on October 25, 27, 31, and November 2 at the Keller Auditorium in downtown Portland.
Portland Opera's esteemed music director, George Manahan, will conduct Puccini's intimate and heart-wrenching score, which features Cio-Cio-San's famous aria "Un bel dì vedremo," and the ethereal Humming Chorus. E. Loren Meeker, who was last seen at Portland Opera as the Assistant Director of Puccini's La Bohème in 2009, returns to direct this production. Momo Suzuki and Kevin Suzuki make their Portland Opera debuts as Japanese Movement & Cultural Advisors for the piece.
Tenor Luis Chapa will make his Portland Opera debut as Pinkerton, a role he sang at the Metropolitan Opera in the 2017/18 season. Suzuki will be sung by mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida, who also makes her company debut. She has previously sung the role at the Manitoba Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Utah Opera. Baritone Troy Cook joins the company for the first time. He will sing the role of Sharpless, a role he has previously sung with the Washington National Opera, Utah Opera, and Central City Opera. Baritone André Chiang, a former Portland Opera Resident Artist, returns to the company as Prince Yamadori and The Imperial Commissioner. Bass Peixin Chen makes his Portland Opera debut as the Bonze, after making his Metropolitan Opera debut last season as Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute. Washington native tenor Karl Marx Reyes will make his company debut as the marriage broker, Goro. Current Portland Opera Resident Artist mezzo-soprano Camille Sherman sings the role of Kate Pinkerton. Lighting is designed by Mark McCullough. Performances will also feature the talented local and regional musicians who make up Portland Opera's orchestra and chorus.
"An idealistic, Japanese girl in the early 1900s falls for a brash, entitled American soldier whose actions turn her love into a story ending in exploitation, betrayal, and abandonment," says stage director E. Loren Meeker. "Puccini's masterpiece Madama Butterfly forces American audiences to consider our history, culture, and the unknown victims of our past foreign policy. Our goal within a traditional setting is to honor Japanese culture through insightful storytelling and modern characterization. This creates an environment where we can examine the harsh realities of our past in an effort to learn from our mistakes at global, national, and personal levels."
As work begins onstage with this production of Madama Butterfly, Portland Opera seeks to enhance community dialogue and context surrounding this piece. On Sunday, October 13, audiences are invited to a free preview event at the Multnomah County Public Library, featuring performances by Portland Opera artists and commentary by Nicholas Fox, chorus master and assistant conductor. On Thursday, October 24, Portland Opera will welcome special guest speakers Dr. Kunio Hara (Associate Professor of Music History at the University of South Carolina) and Dr. Laura Mueller (Portland Japanese Garden) for an evening of insights and conversation titled "Context & Conversation: Puccini, Madama Butterfly, and Honoring Tradition." Portland Opera will also present "East & West: A Special Evening of Song" on Tuesday, October 29. This recital, featuring members of the Madama Butterfly company, will explore influence and musical cross-pollination between the East and the West. More information on these events can be found below.
Madama Butterfly was made possible by Barran Liebman, LLP and Et Fille Wines. Portland Opera is grateful for the ongoing support of the Meyer Memorial Trust, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Portland Opera is a member of OPERA America.
Performances take place at 7:30PM at the Keller Auditorium with the exception of the matinee on October 27 which begins at 2:00PM. One hour prior to each performance, audience members are invited to a pre-show lecture.
Madama Butterfly will be sung in Italian with projected English translations.
Student rush tickets are available for performances of Madama Butterfly. Call 503-241-1802 Monday through Friday from 10AM-5PM for more information. Portland Opera is proud to also work with the Veteran Tickets Foundation (vettix.org) to share tickets to the performances on October 31 with U.S. Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families. In addition, a limited number of free tickets are available through My Discovery Pass, a program created by Multnomah County Library that offers access to local museums and cultural institutions for library card holders.
A limited number of $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders are available two weeks prior to each performance, subject to availability. These tickets must be purchased via phone by calling 503-241-1802.
The performance on October 27 at 2pm will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance is visually translated with English text projected above the stage.
Tickets for Madama Butterfly are now available, starting at $35. For more information, and to purchase tickets visit portlandopera.org or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday through Friday from 10PM-5PM.