Royal Albert Hall to flood for Madam Butterfly return

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

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

David Freeman will direct, reviving his Japanese water garden production, designed by David Roger.

The opera will be sung in English, using the acclaimed translation by Amanda Holden.

No opera can match the tragedy and sorrow of Madam Butterfly.

It is 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 ravishing score skilfully weaves together the differences in attitudes and styles of East and West.

The production follows the unfolding action where passion and hope collide with despair and ultimate tragedy.

Staged in-the-round, this production transforms the iconic Royal Albert Hall into Japan in 1907.

The floor of the Royal Albert Hall will be flooded to create David Roger’s stunning design where Madam Butterfly’s house is perched on stilts above the shimmering surface of a traditional Japanese water garden.

The role of the young Japanese bride, Cio Cio San will be 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 will play Suzuki, with David Kempster, Wyn Pencarreg and James Cleverton as Sharpless.

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

The cast will be accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Oliver Gooch.

David Freeman is an internationally recognised director of opera and theatre. He founded the Opera Factory in London in 1981, under the auspices of ENO, which was the resident company at the South Bank Centre.

Madam Butterfly will run from February 26-March 15.

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