Soprano Marie Plette alternates as “Cio-Cio San” 12/6 and 12/8
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel
Continuing Wednesday, December 5th at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, one of opera’s most-beloved masterpieces – Puccini’s tragically beautiful MADAMA BUTTERFLY. Patricia Racette repeats her celebrated interpretation of the role at the 1:00 matinee performances on December 5th and 8th at 1:00 p.m. Ms. Racette appeared here as “Cio-Cio-San” in 2006, and has also sung the role at the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, Los Angeles Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. Making his San Francisco Opera debut tenor Brandon Jovanovich joins her as “Pinkerton”, a role he has performed with New York City Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, National Opera of Bordeaux, Toulon Opera, and the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse.
MADAMA BUTTERFLY – Production photos by Terrence McCarthy
BRANDON JOVANOVICH (Pinkerton) and PATRICIA RACETTE (Cio-Cio-San)
American soprano Marie Plette (appears as “Cio-Cio-San”, 12/6 and 12/8) is an alumna of the Merola Opera Program. She has sung MADAMA BUTTERFLY at Seattle Opera, Connecticut Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Pacific, and Opera Memphis. As her “Pinkerton”, James Valenti appeared with San Francisco Opera at the Stern Grove Festival in August of this year, and makes his official Company debut in this production. Last summer Valenti performed the role opposite Patricia Racette in concert with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival; he has also performed the role at Dresden Semperoper, Marseille Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and in a production directed by Renata Scotto at Genoa Opera.
MARIE PLETTE (Cio-Cio-San) and JAMES VALENTI (Pinkerton)
Mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao appears in all performances as “Suzuki”, maid and confidante of “Cio-Cio San”. A native of Shanghai, a former Adler Fellow and Merola Opera Program participant, Ms. Cao holds degrees from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Curtis Institute of Music. This is her fifth season singing “Suzuki” with SF Opera; she has also performed the role at San Diego Opera, Opéra de Lyon, and the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
ZHENG CAO – as Suzuki
MADAMA BUTTERFLY – Raymond Aceto, Katharine Tier, Stephen Powell, Matthew O’Neill
Raymond Aceto (“The Bonze”) made his San Francisco Opera debut as Monterone in the 1997 production of Rigoletto. Later this season Aceto sings “Sarastro” (Die Zauberflöte) at Houston Grand Opera; “Ramfis” (Aida) for his debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin, followed shortly by appearances there as Jacopo Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra). Other upcoming engagements include “Des Grieux” (Manon) at Lyric Opera of Chicago and “Escamillo” (Carmen) at Los Angeles Opera. First-year Adler Fellow Katharine Tier (“Kate Pinkerton”) made her San Francisco Opera debut this season as the Third Lady (The Magic Flute). The mezzo-soprano participated in the 2006 Merola Opera Program where she performed excerpts from Donizetti’s La Favorite at Yerba Buena Gardens. Baritone Stephen Powell (“Sharpless”) makes his San Francisco Opera debut in a role he has performed with New York City Opera, the San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Upcoming engagements include “Germont” with Arizona Opera and “Figaro” (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with Hawaii Opera. Current Adler Fellow Matthew O’neill (“Goro”) made his San Francisco Opera debut last season as “Borsa” (Rigoletto) and returned for the subsequent Company productions of Tristan und Isolde, Carmen, Manon Lescaut, and Der Rosenkavalier. This season he sang the role of “Heinrich der Schreiber” (Tannhäuser) and appeared as “Monostatos” in The Magic Flute for Families and the “First Priest” (The Magic Flute).
San Francisco Opera Music Director Donald Runnicles conducts the December 1st, 5th, and 8th (1:00 pm) performances. Conductor Julian Smith makes his San Francisco Opera debut conducting the December 6th and 8th (8:00 pm) performances. This popular San Francisco Opera production, directed by Kathleen Belcher, was conceived by Ron Daniels and designed by Michael Yeargan. It debuted in June 1997 at the Golden Gate Theatre. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, performances of MADAMA BUTTERFLY will last approximately two hours and 45 minutes. All performances will feature an Opera Talk by Rose Theresa fifty-five minutes prior to curtain. Opera Talks are presented free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance.
To order tickets on-line:
Wednesday, December 5th, at 7:30 pm (Patricia Racette / Brandon Jovanovich)
Thursday, December 6th, at 7:30 pm (Marie Plette / James Valenti)
Saturday, December 8th, at 1:00 pm (Patricia Racette / Brandon Jovanovich)
Saturday, December 8th, at 8:00 pm (Marie Plette / James Valenti)
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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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