Royal Albert Hall prepares to flood for Madam Butterfly

Madam Butterfly. Photo by Paul Sanders
Madam Butterfly. Photo by Paul Sanders

Rehearsals are under way Madam Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece of doomed love and tragic passion, which will play a limited run at the Royal Albert Hall from February 26.

Set in Japan at the turn of the century, the tale of the doomed loved of an American naval lieutenant and his young Japanese bride inspired Puccini to write some of his most sublime and beautiful music.

From the magnificent love duet which closes the first act to Butterfly’s celebrated solo One Fine Day, Puccini’s score weaves together the differences in attitudes and styles of East and West.

Staged in-the-round, the production transforms the iconic Royal Albert Hall into Japan in 1907 with the floor flooded for Madam Butterfly’s house, perched on stilts, above a traditional Japanese water garden.

The role of the young Japanese bride, Cio Cio San is shared by Nam-Young Kim, Hyeseoung Kwon and Myung-Joo Lee, opposite Jeffrey Gwaltney, James Edwards and Mario Sofroniou in the role of American naval lieutenant, Pinkerton.

Sabina Kim, Catherine Hopper and Marcia Bellamy, plays Suzuki, with David Kempster, Wyn Pencarreg and James Cleverton as Sharpless.

The role of The Bonze is played by Michael Druiett. Julius Ahn plays Goro, with Seungwook Seong as Yamadori, Lise Christensen as Kate Pinkerton, Freddie Tong as Imperial Commissioner and Richard Suart as the Registrar.

The opera is sung in English and the cast will be accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Oliver Gooch.

Madam Butterfly will run from February 26-March 15.

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