In Nagasaki, a captivating geisha marries an American naval lieutenant. Her love for him is tested repeatedly — as her family disowns her, as he leaves Japan while promising to return eventually, and when his true intentions are finally revealed, with tragic consequences.
Premiered in 1904, this beloved opera has at its heart a Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San (soprano Ana María Martínez, Feb. 6 - 29, Mar. 5 & 8; soprano Lianna Haroutounian/Lyric debut, Mar. 4 & 7), known as "Madame Butterfly." In a traditional Japanese ceremony witnessed by the American consul Sharpless (baritone Anthony Clark Evans, a Ryan Opera Center alumnus), Cio-Cio-San marries U. S. Navy Lt. B. F. Pinkerton (tenor Brian Jagde, Feb. 6 - 29 and Mar. 5 & 8; tenor Brandon Jovanovich, Mar. 4 & 7) – who soon departs for America, promising to return "when the robins are nesting." Three years pass, with Cio-Cio-San – along with her maid Suzuki (mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel) and her little son Sorrow (Graham Macfarlane, Lyric debut) – waiting for Pinkerton to keep his promise while fending off wealthy suitors put forth by marriage broker Goro (tenor Rodell Rosel, a Ryan Opera Center alumnus). When Pinkerton does return, Cio-Cio-San’s joy soon turns to heartbreak and catastrophe when she learns of his plan to take their son to America with his "real" American wife.
Hungarian conductor Henrik Nánási returns for Madama Butterfly after making his American debut at Lyric with Le nozze di Figaro (2015/16). The original production was created by director Michael Grandage. Louisa Muller is the revival director. Grandage’s longtime collaborator, Christopher Oram, designed sets and costumes. Two-time Tony Award-winner Neil Austin is the original lighting designer; Lyric’s lighting director Chris Maravich is the revival lighting designer. Michael Black is chorus master.
Performance dates for Madama Butterfly are February 6, 9, 14, 17, 21, 24, 29; March 4, 5, 7, and 8. Performance times vary.
For tickets and information call 312.827.5600 or go to lyricopera.org/butterfly. College students who are registered with Lyric's NEXT student ticket program can buy tickets for just $20. Discount tickets are available for children accompanied by adult ticket holders by calling 312.827.5600.
Madama Butterfly is performed in Italian with projected English translations. Estimated running time is 2 hours 50 minutes, including one 30-minute intermission.
Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.
Under the leadership of general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, music director designate Enrique Mazzola, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration and evolving learning opportunities, ever more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming and artists - magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.
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Lyric’s production revival of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly generously made possible by Lauter McDougal Charitable Fund, Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel, Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, Marion A. Cameron, Invesco QQQ, and ITW.
Madama Butterfly is a coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Grand Théâtre de Genève.