by Mike Telin
Based on John Luther Long’s short story from 1898, Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly recounts the story of the young U.S. naval officer B.F. Pinkerton and his arranged marriage with the 15-year-old Japanese geisha Cio-Cio San. Although the premiere in February of 1904 was poorly received, Puccini’s fifth version of the opera, premiered in 1907, has become a mainstay of opera repertoire.
On Friday, April 27 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 29 at 3:00 pm at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, Cleveland Opera Theater will present a fully-staged production of Puccini’s heartbreaking opera. Tickets are available online.
“It’s traditional to say that Butterfly is about a clash of cultures, and of course it is — but not only that. It’s about a clash of various kinds of love and expectations,” soprano Dina Kuznetsova, who will perform the role of Cio-Cio San, said during a telephone conversation. The cast includes tenor Timothy Culver as B.F. Pinkerton, mezzo-soprano Sandra Ross as Cio-Cio San’s maid Suzuki, baritone Young Kyang Yoo as United States counsel Sharpless, tenor Mark Eldred as the matchmaker Goro, and bass Jason Budd as Cio-Cio San’s uncle Il Bonzo. Domenico Boyagian conducts the Cleveland Opera Theater Orchestra with stage direction by Scott Skiba. The production will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.