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Seattle Opera.

Madame Butterfly

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Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

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Overview

By Giacomo Puccini

An international favorite for more than a century, Puccini’s unforgettable classic enchants with glorious music of unparalleled passion and pathos. Bound by tradition and honor, a young Japanese maiden is left to face an unspeakable aftermath when abandoned by a reckless American naval officer. Musical highlights include the radiant “Flower Duet,” Butterfly’s poignant arias, and a rapturous duet for soprano and tenor.

Kate Cherry’s “sublime, visually fantastic, must-see” (stuff.co.nz) production features new-to-Seattle sets and costumes, and traditional staging inspired by stylized Japanese theater.

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Screenshot from Madame Butterfly preview.

Listen to the music

 New Zealand Opera 2013 Madame Butterfly, © Neil Mackenzie

In Italian with English subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes with 1 intermission

PRICE & AVAILABILITY UPDATE 

As of 7/27/17

  • TODAY THROUGH SUNDAY, JULY 30 ONLY: To celebrate the start of our 2017/18 season, enjoy a 25% discount off of most seats for the Saturday, August 5, Sunday, August 6, and Wednesday, August 9 performances of Madame Butterfly! No promotion code needed; prices displayed already reflect this sale. Offer valid 7/27-7/30 only. 
  • Save up to 46% when you include Madame Butterfly in your season ticket package! Packages start at just $150. Learn More
  • Best availability overall and lowest Orchestra level pricing on Sunday, August 13 - Best Saturday pricing on Saturday, August 12
  • Date Night Special: Enjoy two tickets on the Orchestra level for a Saturday evening performance, two glasses of wine, and one parking pass—all for under $250! Learn More

 

Since Seattle Opera's last Madame Butterfly in 2012, our community has raised a larger discussion about works in which the composer/librettist team is writing about a culture other than their own (Madame Butterfly and The Mikado are examples). We are seizing this opportunity to encourage discussion and deepen our understanding about this important subject matter.
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Synopsis

Act I
A home on a hillside in Nagasaki, at the turn of the twentieth century. Goro, a Japanese matchmaker, shows American naval lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton the house that Pinkerton has decided to lease. The house comes with a bride, and it is time for the arranged wedding. Sharpless, the U.S. Consul in Nagasaki and Pinkerton’s guest, warns Pinkerton not to take advantage of the innocent, trusting Cio-Cio-San. But Pinkerton ignores him and toasts the day when he will wed a real American wife. Cio-Cio-San arrives with her relatives. She tells Pinkerton she has renounced her religion for his. The marriage is finalized, and relatives and friends are celebrating when Cio-Cio-San’s uncle, the Bonze, bursts in. Furious at Cio-Cio-San’s conversion, he ostracizes her from the family, and everyone abandons her. Left alone with her new husband, Cio-Cio-San is comforted by the possibility of happiness in her new life, and she and Pinkerton express their love.

Act II
Three years have passed since Pinkerton’s departure from Nagasaki. Cio-Cio-San's servant Suzuki warns they have almost no money and are near destitution, but Cio-Cio-San is confident that Pinkerton will return for her. Sharpless enters, bearing a letter from Pinkerton. He doesn’t get a chance to read it; Cio-Cio-San constantly interrupts him, and then Goro arrives with Prince Yamadori, a new suitor for Cio-Cio-San. According to Goro, under Japanese law Pinkerton’s absence is grounds for divorce. Cio-Cio-San replies that since she is American, Japanese law doesn’t apply to her.

After Goro and Yamadori depart, Sharpless bluntly asks Cio-Cio-San what she will do if Pinkerton doesn’t return. She replies that she would either return to her former life or, more likely, take her own life. When he urges her to accept Yamadori’s proposal, Cio-Cio-San is deeply hurt. She shows Sharpless her son, and asks Sharpless to inform Pinkerton that he is a father—surely this news will make Pinkerton hurry back to her. Sharpless promises her that Pinkerton will know.

Suzuki and Cio-Cio-San hear a cannon shot from the harbor, and they realize it announces the arrival of Pinkerton’s ship, the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. They decorate the house in preparation for his return. Night falls, and they settle in to wait for Pinkerton.

Act III
At dawn, the drowsy Cio-Cio-San sings a lullaby to her boy and goes to sleep. Pinkerton and Sharpless arrive. Suzuki notices a woman in the garden, and Sharpless tells her that the woman is Kate, Pinkerton’s American wife, who wants to raise Cio-Cio-San’s child as her own. Pinkerton flees, overcome by remorse and unable to confront Cio-Cio-San.

Cio-Cio-San enters and sees Kate in the garden. Cio-Cio-San figures out who Kate is, and Sharpless asks Cio-Cio-San if she will give up the boy. She says she will, if Pinkerton comes in person to ask for his son. Cio-Cio-San makes the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of her child.

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Dig Deeper: Madame Butterfly

Learn more about the music, characters, cultural context, and history of Madame Butterfly in our in-depth, multimedia Spotlight Guide.

Read the Spotlight Guide

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Cast

Lianna Haroutounian

Cio-Cio-San

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Cio-Cio-San, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Metsamor, Armenia
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Cio-Cio-San, Madame Butterfly (Staatsoper Hamburg); Leonora, Il trovatore (Royal Opera Covent Garden); Elisabetta, Don Carlo (Deutsch Oper Berlin)
Upcoming: Amelia, Simone Boccanegra (Concertgebouw Amsterdam); Aida, Aida (Teatro Real de Madrid); Tosca, Tosca (Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Valencia)

Last updated: July 2017

 

Lianna Haroutounian

Cio-Cio-San

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 5, 9, 13, & 18

Yasko Sato

Cio-Cio-San

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Cio-Cio-San, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Japan
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Cio-Cio-San, Madame Butterfly, and Aida, Aida (Luglio Musicale Trapanese); Tosca, Tosca (Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Japan)
Upcoming: Tosca, Tosca (Fujisawa Civic Center, Japan); Nedda, Pagliacci (Tokyo Bunka Kaikan); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Tokyo Nissay Hall, Yokosuka Art Hall) 

Last updated: July 2017

Yasko Sato

Cio-Cio-San

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 6, 12, 16, & 19

Alexey Dolgov

Pinkerton

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Lensky, Eugene Onegin (Metropolitan Opera); Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly (Bayerische Staatsoper); Edgardo, Lucia di Lammermoor (Israeli Opera)
Upcoming: Rodolfo, La bohème (Israeli Opera)

Last updated: July 2017

Alexey Dolgov

Pinkerton

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 5, 9, 13, & 18

Dominick Chenes

Pinkerton

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Rodolfo, La bohème (Welsh National Opera); Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly (Austin Opera); Don José, Carmen (Utah Opera)
Upcoming: Rodolfo, La bohème (Opera Colorado); Turiddu, Cavalleria rusticana (New Orleans Opera)

 

Dominick Chenes

Pinkerton

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 6, 12, 16, & 19

Weston Hurt

Sharpless

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Sharpless, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Houston, TX
Seattle Opera Debut:
Germont, La traviata (‘09)
Previously at Seattle Opera:  Giorgio Germont, La traviata (’17); Talbot, Mary Stuart (’16); Nabucco, Nabucco (’15)
Recently: Scarpia, Tosca (Houston Grand Opera); Valentin, Faust (New Orleans Opera); Scarpia, Tosca (Tulsa Opera)
Upcoming: Scarpia, Tosca (Nashville Opera); John Peeribyngle, Il grillo del focolare (Teatro Grattacielo); Creon, Medea (Opera Omaha)

Last updated: July 2017

Weston Hurt

Sharpless

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Renée Rapier

Suzuki

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Suzuki, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Marion, Iowa
Seattle Opera Debut: Anna, Mary Stuart (’16)
Recently: Suzuki, Madame Butterfly (Opera Theatre St. Louis); Secretary, Nixon in China (LA Philharmonic); Rosina, The Barber of Seville (Opera San Jose)
Upcoming:  Flora Bervoix, La traviata (San Francisco Opera)

Last updated: July 2017

Renée Rapier

Suzuki

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Sarah Mattox

Kate Pinkerton

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Kate Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly 

Hometown:  Seattle, WA
Seattle Opera Debut: Fyodor, Boris Godunov ('00)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Second Lay Sister, Suor Angelica ('13); Second Maid Servant, Elektra ('08); Alisa, Lucia di Lammermoor ('00) 
Recently: Carmen, Carmen (Pacific Northwest Opera, Opera Bend, and Walla Walla Symphony)
Upcoming: Mezzo-soprano soloist, Verdi Requiem (UW Symphony); Mezzo-soprano soloist, Mahler 2nd Symphony (Poulsbo Orchestra); TangleTown Trio, Art Song Series (Songs@Tsunami)

Last updated: July 2017

Sarah Mattox

Kate Pinkerton

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Rodell Rosel

Goro

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Goro, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Seattle Opera Debut: Monostatos, The Magic Flute (’17)
Recently: First Jew, Salome, and Spalanzani, The Tales of Hoffmann (Los Angeles Opera); Mime, Das Rheingold (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Upcoming: Tanzmeister, Ariadne auf Naxos (Kentucky Opera); Njegus, The Merry Widow (Florentine Opera); Pang, Turandot (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Last updated: July 2017

Rodell Rosel

Goro

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Ryan Bede

Prince Yamadori

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Prince Yamadori, Madame Butterfly; Jim Crowley, An American Dream; and Fiorello, The Barber of Seville

Baritone (Tacoma, WA) 
Ryan Bede made his Seattle Opera debut last season as Second Priest in The Magic Flute and sings Prince Yamadori in Madame Butterfly this summer. He recently performed Moralès/Le Dancaïre in Carmen at Pacific Northwest Opera and Papageno at Opera Idaho. He has also performed with Coeur d’Alene Opera, Tacoma Opera, and Vespertine Opera, among others. Other roles include Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, and Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. He will return to Seattle Opera later this fall to perform the role of Fiorello in The Barber of Seville.

 

Ryan Bede

Prince Yamadori

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Daniel Sumegi

The Bonze

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: The Bonze, Madame Butterfly; Don Basilio, The Barber of Seville; Don Pedro, Beatrice and Benedict; Ramfis, Aida

Hometown: Sydney, Australia 
Seattle Opera Debut: Daland, The Flying Dutchman (’07) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Daland, The Flying Dutchman (’16); Fafner and Hagen, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’09 and ’13) 
Recently: Fasolt/Hagen, Der Ring des Nibelungen (Opera Australia); Johnny Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate (Austin Opera); Walter, Luisa Miller (San Francisco Opera) 
Upcoming: Don Basilio, The Barber of Seville; Don Pedro, Beatrice and Benedict; Ramfis, Aida (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: July 2017



Daniel Sumegi

The Bonze

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Jonathan Silvia

Imperial Commissioner

At Seattle Opera in 2016/17: Imperial Commissioner, Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Kirkland, WA
Seattle Opera Debut: First Villager, Pagliacci (’08) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Second Armored Man, The Magic Flute (’17);  Marquis D'Obigny, La traviata (’17); High Priest of Baal, Nabucco (’15)
Recently: Leporello, Don Giovanni and Zuniga, Carmen (Pacific Northwest Opera); Oroveso, Norma (Skagit Opera)

Last updated: July 2017

Jonathan Silvia

Imperial Commissioner

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Kwangsuk Ku

Registrar

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Registrar, Madame Butterfly, and Officer, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Seattle Opera Debut: Messenger, La traviata ('17)
Seattle Opera Chorus Member since 2016
Recently:  Chorus, The Flying Dutchman, Katya Kabanova, and The Magic Flute  (Seattle Opera)
Upcoming: Officer, The Barber of Seville (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: July 2017

Kwangsuk Ku

Registrar

Aug. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19, 2017

Cast

Creative Team

Kate Cherry

Director

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Seattle Opera Debut
Director/CEO, National Institute of Dramatic Art
Recently: La traviata and Madame Butterfly (New Zealand Opera); La traviata (Opera Queensland)

Kate Cherry

Director

Seattle Opera Debut

Carlo Montanaro

Conductor

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Cecina, Italy
Seattle Opera Debut: Don Quichotte (’11) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Mary Stuart (’16); Nabucco (’15); The Consul (’14); La bohème (’13)  
Recently: La bohème (Sydney Opera House); Rigoletto (Oper Frankfurt); La bohème (San Francisco Opera)
Upcoming: La traviata (Dallas Opera and Opera Australia Melbourne); La bohème (Korea National Opera)

Last updated: July 2017

Carlo Montanaro

Conductor

Christina Smith

Production Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Set Designer, The Flying Dutchman (Victorian Opera); Set and Costume Designer, Madame Butterfly (New Zealand Opera); Set and Costume Designer, La traviata (State Opera South Australia, New Zealand Opera, Opera Queensland)
Upcoming: Set Designer, Hayfever (Melbourne Theatre Company); Set Designer, Brigadoon (The Production Company); Set and Costume Designer, Gloria (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Last updated: July 2017

Christina Smith

Production Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Matt Scott

Lighting Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Madame Butterfly

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: The Rover (Belvoir); Once in Royal David’s City (Queensland Theatre/Black Swan State Theatre Company); The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Australia)
Upcoming: Brigadoon (The Production Company); The Pearl Fishers (State Opera of South Australia); Madame Butterfly (Opera Australia)

Last updated: July 2017

Matt Scott

Lighting Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Creative Team

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Production Sponsors

Tagney Jones Family Fund at Seattle Foundation
Barbara Stephanus

Main Photo © Philip Newton | Photos: New Zealand Opera 2013 Madame Butterfly, © Neil Mackenzie