MADAMA BUTTERFLY – Opens at SF Opera, Tuesday 10/12

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s tragic love story MADAMA BUTTERFLY in twelve performances running October 12th through November 27th at the War Memorial Opera House. Bulgarian soprano Svetla Vassileva stars as “Cio-Cio-San”, a role she shares with Italian soprano Daniela Dessì, and former Adler Fellow Daveda Karanas is Cio-Cio-San’s maid and confidante, “Suzuki”. Following his June 2010 appearances in the title role of Faust is tenor Stefano Secco as “Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton”, with baritone Quinn Kelsey as the American Consul “Sharpless”, a role he shares with Brian Mulligan. This production from Lyric Opera of Chicago, which is presented at San Francisco Opera for the first time and directed by Jose Maria Condemi, was created by Tony Award winning Broadway stage director Harold Prince and inspired by traditional Japanese theater. San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti and Julian Kovatchev conduct the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

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— As “Cio-Cio-San” —
SVETLA VASSILEVA and DANIELA DESSÌ

Svetla Vassileva previously appeared at San Francisco Opera as “Liù” in the 1998 production of Puccini’s Turandot. The soprano returns as the young Japanese geisha “Cio-Cio-San”, one of her signature roles that she has performed in Verona, Trieste, Torre del Lago, and Catania and will sing again this season at the Vienna State Opera. Other recent credits include the title role of Tosca in Rome, the title role of Manon Lescaut in Lyon and “Magda” in La Rondine in Bologna. Sharing the role of “Butterfly” for six performances is Daniela Dessì, an internationally renowned spinto soprano who counts nearly all of Puccini’s heroines in her repertoire. Dessì has previously appeared as “Cio-Cio-San” in Verona, Barcelona, Torre del Lago, Ancona, Milan and Madrid. She last performed at San Francisco Opera in 1995 as “Donna Elvira” in Don Giovanni.

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STEFANO SECCO (Pinkerton) – DAVEDA KARANAS (Suzuki)

Italian tenor Stefano Secco sings the role of Cio-Cio-San’s beloved “Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton”, following recent San Francisco Opera appearances in the title role of Faust and as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. Secco’s other credits include “Edgardo” in Lucia di Lammermoor in Berlin, Genoa, Parma and Firenze; “Rodolfo” in La Bohème in Monte-Carlo, Berlin, Paris, Parma and Bolgna; and the title role of Werther in Paris, Frankfurt and Baden-Baden. Former Adler Fellow and mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas appears as Butterfly’s loyal maid “Suzuki”. Karanas recently made her role debut as “Waltraute” in San Francisco Opera’s 2010 production of Wagner’s Die Walküre and will return in that role and as the “2nd Norn” in the Company’s full Ring cycle in 2011.

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— As “Sharpless” —
QUINN KELSEY and BRIAN MULLIGAN

Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey returns to San Francisco Opera as the American Consul “Sharpless”, a role he has also performed at Hawaii Opera Theater and New York City Opera. Kelsey made his Company debut as “Marcello” in 2008’s La Bohème and he will return to San Francisco as “Amonasro” in the November and December performances of Aïda. Sharing the role of “Sharpless” for three performances is baritone Brian Mulligan, who is currently appearing as “Albert” in San Francisco Opera’s production of Werther. Mulligan recently made his role debut as Sharpless at English National Opera and will return to San Francisco Opera as “Ragueneau” in Cyrano de Bergerac this season.

This production, originated by legendary Broadway stage director Harold Prince at Lyric Opera Chicago, is a visually stunning interpretation of one of Puccini’s most beloved operas. A winner of 21 Tony Awards, Prince has created opera productions at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Jose Maria Condemi, who recently directed the 2010 production of Faust, will direct and Music Director Nicola Luisotti will conduct. The six November performances will be led by conductor Julian Kovatchev, making his San Francisco Opera; Kovatchev has previously conducted Madama Butterfly in Stuttgart and Genoa.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
Click here for cast information and to order tickets on-line to the twelve performances listed below:
MADAMA BUTTERFLY
October 12 (8 pm), October 15 (8 pm), October 20 (7:30 pm), October 23 (8 pm), October 26 (7:30 pm), October 29 (8 pm), November 5 (8 pm), November 11 (7:30 pm), November 14 (2 pm), November 17 (7:30 pm), November 21 (2 pm) and November 27 (8 pm).

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MADAMA BUTTERFLY. Photo, Dan Rest

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, 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: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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