Pacific Opera Project Presents Watch Party For First Ever Bilingual Production Of MADAMA BUTTERFLY
On Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 5:00pm PST, Pacific Opera Project (POP) presents a watch party of their critically acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly, the first ever true-to-story bilingual production of the opera, performed in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo. POP's first co-production, Madama Butterfly was presented with Houston's Opera in the Heights with a new libretto written by POP Artistic Director Josh Shaw and Opera in the Heights Artistic Director Eiki Isomura. The production presents Puccini's story as if it actually happened and attempts to answer the question: "How would Butterfly and Pinkerton communicate?" Isomura conducts and Josh Shaw directs.
The watch party includes interviews with Shaw and Isomura alongside moderator Andreas Kraemer, and the website will feature thematic drink recipes and local Japanese restaurant recommendations from the cast. POP has also created an Education Pack to send to music and drama teachers for use in distance learning. Throughout the stream, POP will highlight organizations fighting COVID-related racism against Japanese-Americans.
Of the production, San Francisco Classical Voice wrote, "The company's latest production... is on a visual scale beyond anything it has taken on before - a sumptuously costumed, fully staged, bilingual co-production (with Houston's Opera in the Heights) of Puccini's Madama Butterfly... What makes the production unique is its sense of cultural accuracy. It contrasts the ancient culture and customs of Japan with the puffed-up arrogance (and innate racism) of the new imperial power on the block, America, and its Teddy Roosevelt brand of 'Big Stick' diplomacy."
The production's cast includes Janet Todd as Cio-cio-san, Peter Lake as Pinkerton, Kenneth Stavert as Sharpless, Kimberly Sogioka as Suzuki, Eiji Miura as Goro, Hisato Masuyama as Bonze, Steve Moritsugu as Yamadori, Norge Yip as Imperial Commissioner, and Chelsea Obermeier as Kate Pinkerton.
Japanese roles are sung in Japanese by Japanese-American artists and all American roles are sung in English. Every singer in the chorus is also Japanese-American, mostly composed of the South Bay Singers, lead by Chorus Master Naoko Suga. In an effort to only use Japanese-American singers for the Japanese roles, POP conducted a multi-year audition process with auditions in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York in addition to online submissions from singers in the States and Japan. Unlike most POP singable translations, this libretto remains as faithful to the Italian word-for-word meaning as possible. Sueko Oshimoto of Kimono SK costumed the production.
This production was made possible through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Opera America and was recorded at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles, CA. POP also assembled an Advisory Committee to aid in the process, give feedback, and advise on cultural sensitivity and performance practice.
Madama Butterfly Watch Party
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 5:00pm PST
More Information: Visit www.pacificoperaproject.com/butterfly to watch on Facebook or Youtube
Hashtags: #GetyourPOPon #BilingualButterfly
Photo Credit: Martha Benedict.