Madama Butterfly, Town Hall Theater, Puccini, Opera Company of Middlebury
It is the most produced opera in North America – and with good reason. The heartbreaking story and the sumptuous music make Madama Butterfly one of the most beloved operas of all time.
The Opera Company of Middlebury will bring Puccini's classic to Middlebury in a semi-staged concert version at Town Hall Theater on October 5 and 7.
Madama Butterfly tells the story of Cio-Cio-San, the young geisha who chooses to die honorably rather than suffer in shame after learning of her husband's betrayal. Soprano Mihoko Kinoshita will sing the role for OCM, having recently played it at Vancouver Opera and the Royal Albert Hall, London. The role of Pinkerton, the US Navy officer who weds Butterfly but then leaves her, will be sung by tenor Daniel Snyder – who was actually a Marine before lunching his opera career.
"We've cast this production extremely well," says director Douglas Anderson. "Both Mihoko and Daniel are absolutely perfect for their parts, and both are extraordinary singers and musicians."
The roles of Suzuki and Sharpless will be played by singers who have been winners in the prestigious Met Opera Council Auditions, mezzo Hyo Na Kim and baritone Ricardo Rivera. Scott Ingham will play Goro and Vermont's own Erik Kroncke will sing two roles, the Bonze and Prince Yamadori.
This will be the first time Opera Company of Middlebury has presented a second production in the same year.
"We're growing," says Anderson. "After nine seasons of very strong work, the opera world is beginning to take note." OCM has a reputation for taking a fresh look at operas, and audiences and singers love the intimacy of its historic 232-seat theater. The company has earned a fanatical following among area music lovers. "We're the Glyndebourne of Vermont," jokes Anderson, but the comparison with the small, fablEd English company is more and more appropriate.
Douglas Anderson will direct the semi-staged concert production. "We won't have elaborate and expensive sets and costumes, but with clever staging the piece will come to life and have all of the emotional wallop of a full production."
Maestro Emmanuel Plasson conducts, his third production with OCM. The ensemble will be the Middlebury College Choir, under the direction of Jeff Buettner. For further information, visit www.ocmvermont.org.
Performances will be Friday, October 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 7 at 2 p.m. in the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury, just opposite the Green. Anderson will talk about the performance one hour prior to curtain at Memorial Baptist Church on South Pleasant Street, opposite the Town Hall Theater.
Tickets are $40 and $45 and can be reserved by calling the box office at 382-9222 or www.townhalltheater.org.
Pictured: Renowned Japanese soprano Mihoko Kinoshita plays the title role in the Opera Company of Middlebury's semi-staged concert production of Madama Butterfly, October 5 & 7.