Antoinette Halloran, Madame Butterfly, New Zealand Opera, Cio-Cio San
Australian soprano Antoinette Halloran won the praise of critics and audiences in 2008 when she performed the role of Mimi in New Zealand Opera's production of La bohème.
Next month she's back on New Zealand stages to sing what she describes as "the most demanding yet most beautiful soprano role ever created," the role of Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) in NZ Opera's new production of Madame Butterfly.
"Marrying divine composition with heart-breaking drama, this is a role that I feel so blessed to portray," Halloran says. "It is an honour to take the audience into Butterfly's world and tell her tragic tale."
Featuring the famous 'Humming Chorus' and 'One Fine Day', Madame Butterfly consistently ranks in the Top 10 of most performed operas worldwide. "For good reason," Halloran says. "It is sublime in every way. There is no need of an edit. Not a dull moment. It is opera that hopefully will leave audiences weeping, yet hungry for more - evangelical opera. Where do I feel it sits in the Top 10? I would be so bold as to say it is Number 1!"
Aidan Lang, General Director of NZ Opera, says Madame Butterfly is one of the great operas of the repertoire, showing off the art form at its very best. "And Cio-Cio San and Lieutenant Pinkerton are among the world's most loved operatic couples," he says. "We're delighted to have Antoinette performing with us again and feel sure that she and Italy's hot young tenor, Piero Pretti, will be an electrifying couple on stage, taking this powerful love story to another level."
Alongside Antoinette Halloran and Piero Pretti are English baritone Peter Savidge as Sharpless and American/English mezzo soprano Lucy Schaufer as Suzuki. Taking smaller principal roles are New Zealanders Jared Holt (baritone - Prince Yamadori), James Benjamin Rodgers (tenor - Goro), Richard Green (bass - The Bonze), Bianca Andrew (mezzo soprano - Kate Pinkerton), and basses Edward Laurenson and Kieran Rayner in the shared roles of Imperial Commissioner and Official Registrar.