Original Director, Anthony Minghella
Revival Director, Sarah Tipple
Conductor, Gianluca Marciano
Anthony Minghella’s sumptuous production of Madam Butterfly returns to ENO
Described by The Times as ‘one of the most deeply thoughtful and ravishingly beautiful re-creations of Puccini’s opera that you’re ever likely to see’ Anthony Minghella’s Madam Butterfly returns to ENO in October for its fifth revival. Italian conductor Gianluca Marciano makes his ENO debut conducting Dina Kuznetsova as the doomed Cio-Cio San and Timothy Richards as her cold-hearted lover B.F. Pinkerton.
The first and only opera directed by the late Anthony Minghella and his wife Carolyn Choa, who assisted him as choreographer and associate director, Madam Butterfly launched the fertile artistic relationship between ENO and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, which has enabled audiences on both side of the Atlantic to enjoy numerous innovative co-productions. Best known for his work in film, Minghella won an Oscar for his film The English Patient and a BAFTA for The Talented Mr Ripley.
Madam Butterfly is a tragic love story about a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval officer posted in Japan. When he returns to the US, Butterfly waits for him, refusing to accept that he no longer wants her. One of opera’s most enduring tales of unrequited love, Madam Butterfly was based, in-part, on the 1898 novel by John Luther Long. The opera also inspired the much loved musical Miss Saigon, which returns to the West End next year.
An ENO classic, Madam Butterfly showcases the company’s work with creative talent from across the arts. Expert puppeteers Blind Summit, whose other work with the company includes Sharik the dog in Simon McBurney’s production of A Dog’s Heart, portray Butterfly’s and Pinkerton’s child in puppet form. The production opens with visually stunning choreography devised by Carolyn Choa which utilises the tradition of the Japanese fan dance.
Sarah Tipple returns to ENO to direct the production for the second time. Sarah’s most recent project has been the sell-out UK and South African tour of Dirty Dancing the musical. Her previous projects have included the acclaimed Barbershopera in 2008, and she was shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Fellowship in Theatre for Directing in 2009. In 2008/9 she completed a year-long residency at the Young Vic.
The original creative team consists of set designer Michael Levine, award-winning lighting designer Peter Mumford and fashion designer Han Feng, whose costumes for the opera have been described as ‘...ravishing...’ by The Daily Telegraph. This production launched Feng’s career in costume design.
Soprano Dina Kuznetsova, whose outstanding musicianship and compelling stage presence has seen her perform at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Royal Opera House London among others, will sing Cio-Cio San while Timothy Richards, recognised as one of the leading tenors of his generation, will sing F.B. Pinkerton. This will be both singers’ ENO debut. They will be sharing the roles of Cio-Cio San and B.F Pinkerton with Mary Plazas and Gwyn Hughes Jones. ENO Harewood Artist Catherine Young returns from the 2012 revival singing the role of Kate Pinkerton and fellow ENO Harewood Artist George von Bergen takes the role of Sharpless. The cast is completed with Pamela Helen Stephen as Suzuki, Alun Rhys-Jenkins as Goro, Mark Richardson as The Bonze and Alexander Robin Baker as Prince Yamadori.
Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Tbilisis State Opera & Ballet Theatre in Georgia Gianluca Marciano will conduct this dynamic cast. He is currently Artistic Director of the Al Bustan Festival in Beirut and Principal Guest Conductor of the Beijing Drama, Dance and Opera Orchestra. Madam Butterfly is Gianluca’s ENO debut.
Madam Butterfly opens at the London Coliseum on 14 October 2013 for 14 performances – October 14, 16, 21, 23, November 2, 8, 13, 15, 21, 29 at 7.30pm October 19, November 23 at 6.30pm and October 26, December 1 at 3.00pm
Pre-performance talk: Wednesday 16 October, 5.15pm-6pm, £5/£2.50 concessions
A co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Lithuanian National Opera
Original production supported by Lord and Lady Laidlaw
Notes to Editors:
English National Opera (ENO) is the UK’s leading producer of world-class opera, sung in English. Working with the very best talent from across the arts and creative industries, we produce highly theatrical productions that push the boundaries of what opera can be. We champion British and British-trained talent by providing development programmes for singers, composers and conductors, placing them at the heart of our performances. Our productions are seen by audiences across Europe, North America and Australia thanks to partnerships with the world’s most celebrated opera houses. Though all our activities we aim to make our work enjoyable, accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.