The foreign intrigue, incomparable passion, heartbreaking urgency, classic visual beauty, glorious arias and ill-fated romance of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" is one of opera's most beloved masterpieces. Set in imperial Japan in the early 1900's, it is the breathtaking tale of a fifteen year old geisha named Cio-Cio-San who because of her fragile beauty and delicate ways is called Butterfly. Opera Theater of Connecticut is poised to give this magnificent musical piece a momentous production at the air-conditioned Andrews Memorial Theater, Main Street, Clinton on Tuesday, August 8, Thursday, August 10 and Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, August 13 at 6 p.m.
Whether this is your favorite opera or you have yet to witness its soaring splendor, you are in for a special treat. With a full orchestra led by Kyle Swann, musical director, be prepared for a trip to foreign lands as the young geisha, portrayed by Shannon Kessler Dooley, soprano, transports you with her precise lyricism and expressionism. It is her wedding day, for a marriage that has been arranged for her with an American naval officer, Lt. Pinkerton, portrayed by Joshua Kohl, tenor, who matches her in impassioned intensity. The unscrupulous wedding broker Goro, a conniving Stefan Barner, has arranged the match, which to Butterfly is a sincere one of love but to the officer is a game to pass the time.
Butterfly is the faithful bride, unaware that to her groom she is merely a toy to be amused by and to enjoy for the moment. She even renounces her religion as part of her commitment to the union and a sign of her loyalty. Once married, Pinkerton leaves her and his return is in question. When Pinkerton finally comes back after three long years away, it is with a new American wife Kate, performed by Carly Callahan. He then discovers he has a son.
Despite the good efforts of Consul-General Sharpless, played by John Dooley, the disruptive plot of her uncle Bonze played by Andrew Potter, the comforting words of her maid Suzuki portrayed by Evanna Lai, the commanding nature of Zachary Johnson as Prince Yamadori and the sweetness of Butterfly’s child, Dolore Sadness, this dramatic tale ends in tragedy. The opera is sung in Italian, with English supertitles to enhance your understanding.
For tickets ($55 regular, $50 seniors, $35 students), call Opera Theater of CT at 860-669-8999 or online at www.operatheater-ct.org. Dinners from Chips Pub III for $15 can be preordered and enjoyed on the theater lawn, on the lovely Indian River, an hour before the show. Artistic Director Alan Mann will present an Opera Talk for $5, an hour and a half before curtain. Kate Ford serves as General Manager of Opera Theater of Connecticut. To Mann, "Heartbreaking and stirring music is the hallmark of this Puccini masterpiece...This glorious and heart-rending clash of cultures and the tragedy that results is perhaps the most beautiful of Puccini's scores and the most memorable musically, dramatically and visually."
The production is made possible in part by The Howard Gilman Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DECD/COA and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.