Giacomo Puccini

Madama Butterfly

November 16, 2018

The story of a young Japanese geisha, clinging to the idea that her relationship with a visiting American naval officer is loving and permanent.

The opera will be beautifully sung in Italian. Marian Vogel, who has starred in OWR’s productions of La Bohème and Tosca, returns to sing the title role of Butterfly.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

  • Synopsis
  • Cast
  • Program

Part 1

While on deployment in Japan, American naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton makes a deal with Goro, a local marriage broker, to lease a home overlooking the harbor complete with servants and a young geisha wife, named Cio Cio San. Living in the moment, Pinkerton decides to marry Cio Cio San, who is known as Butterfly.

The American consul, Sharpless, warns Pinkerton that Butterfly may take the marriage to heart just as she arrives for the ceremony. Pinkerton is unsure whether his feelings for Butterfly are authentic or impulsive but decides to marry her anyway. They complete their marriage vows in time for her uncle, the Bonze, to arrive and publicly condemn Cio Cio San for secretly renouncing her ancestral faith to impress her new husband. Butterfly’s family renounces and abandons her leaving her destitute. Butterfly draws hope and strength from Pinkerton and they spend the night as man and wife.

Part 2

Three Years pass and Cio Cio San waits for Pinkerton’s return. Having only spent a short time together, Butterfly is anxious for her husband’s homecoming. Goro, Sharpless and her confidant, Suzuki, try to persuade her to give up on Pinkerton’s return. Sharpless tries to read from a letter Pinkerton sent ahead of his incoming ship but Butterfly interrupts and joyfully presents the young child she has had by Pinkerton. Sharpless is stunned by her happiness and fails to finish the letter that warns her of Pinkerton’s new American wife. Sharpless leaves, promising to tell Pinkerton of the child. After decorating the house and holding vigil through the night, Butterfly is sleeping and Suzuki is alone when Sharpless arrives with Pinkerton and Kate, Pinkerton’s new wife. Pinkerton realizes that Butterfly never received his letter and flees the home in his cowardice, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news.

Upon waking, Butterfly sees Kate and immediately realizes that she has been dishonored. She agrees to let the boy be raised in America, and dismisses everyone. Deciding to die with honor, she says goodbye to her child and takes out her father’s dagger. Pinkerton arrives too late to do anything but collect the boy. Butterfly, in her naiveté, dies alone and heartbroken with the knowledge that her son will be safe in America.

Cio-Cio San
Soprano Marian Vogel made her Carnegie Hall debut singing the soprano solos in the Mozart Requiem and Rutter’s Magnificat under the baton of composer John Rutter. She has also performed on numerous occasions at Cleveland’s Severance Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst, and recently with the orchestra on their European tour, including performances at the famous Musikverein in Vienna and in Luxembourg. She has performed many leading operatic roles, including Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème, Violetta in La Traviata, Tosca in Tosca, Donna Elivira in Don Giovanni, as well as many Gilbert & Sullivan heroines and musical theater roles. Equally at home on the concert stage, Ms. Vogel has appeared in major works across the United States and in Europe. Ms. Vogel is a two-time first prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and the winner of the Belle O. Morse Young Artist Award. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

 

Pinkerton
Jesus Daniel was born and raised in Juarez Mexico, and moved to the United States as a teenager. In 2003, Jesus Daniel chose to enlist in the US Army and soon after volunteered to serve in a Chemical Unit being deployed to Iraq. In 2007, a chance encounter with Plácido Domingo in San Antonio, TX changed his life. After a concert given by Maestro Domingo, Jesus Daniel asked if he could sing for the great tenor to see what the Maestro thought of his voice. Upon hearing the young soldier sing, Maestro Domingo invited the tenor to join the prestigious Plácido Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program with the Washington National Opera. After an honorable discharge in 2008, Jesus Daniel moved to Washington, DC to pursue his boyhood dream of being a professional singer.

While a participant in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Jesus Daniel performed with The Washington National Opera in the productions of Lucrezia Borgia, La Traviata (YA), Falstaff (WNO Look-In), and in Hamlet. Jesus Daniel’s other roles have included performances il Duca di Mantua in Rigoletto, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Camille in The Merry Widow, Alfredo in La Traviata, Andrea Chénier in Andrea Chénier, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and numerous Zarzuelas. His experience includes concert performances for NEA Opera Honors ceremonies, the Horatio Awards at the United States Supreme Court, and numerous concerts in Europe. His upcoming album as a solo artist “Jesus Daniel” will be coming soon on iTunes and Spotify.

 

Sharpless
Warren native baritone Brian Keith Johnson is nationally acclaimed for his opera and oratorio performances and his “powerful presence” and “rich and gleaming” voice (Plain Dealer). He has received raves for performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony, Blossom Festival Orchestra, New Opera Festival di Roma Orchestra in Rome, Italy, Canton Symphony, Springfield Orchestra, Carolina Master Chorale, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Porthouse Theater, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, The San Jose Ballet and The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, among many other opera companies and orchestras. Area audiences know him from appearances with the WPO and star roles in Opera Western Reserve’s productions of Porgy and Bess, Barber of Seville, La Bohème, Pagliaci, Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro.

As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he has also performed a variety of musical theatre roles ranging from Jim in Big River to Father/God in Children. Favorite musical theater roles include Joe (Show Boat), Bill Sykes, Miles Floriosus, Sweeny Todd and Audrey II. His concert repertoire includes most of the major baritone works such as Carmina Burana, Elijah, the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Brahms Requiem and the Fauré Requiem.

Born and raised in Warren Ohio, Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Akron and also studied abroad at the New Opera Academy of Rome in Rome, Italy and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. In 2018, Brian was inducted into the Warren City School’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

 

Suzukie
Elizabeth Mitchell, Mezzo-Soprano, is a versatile performer whose repertoire ranges from opera to oratorio to cabaret to art song.

A native of Salt Lake City, Elizabeth has performed nationally with Ohio Light Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Utah Opera, Arbor Opera Theater, Friends of the Opera of Michigan, Opera MODO, Comic Opera Guild, and Main Street Opera Theatre. In 2014, Ms. Mitchell made her international debut as the Witch and Mother in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with Opera im Park in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria. She returned in 2015 to sing the role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. In addition to these roles, favorites include Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw, Mercedes in Carmen, Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, and Mistress Page in Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. She can also be heard as Mrs. VanDare on Ohio Light Opera’s recording of The Firefly (Albany Records).

In 2014, Elizabeth began to sing with the Dodworth Saxhorn Band, America’s premier 19th Century Brass Band from Ann Arbor, Michigan focusing on music from the Civil War era. Ms. Mitchell is also part of the Dodworth Duo and, along with her fellow artists, was featured on the Duo’s debut album “A Thorn Among Roses” (Vivo Productions).

Elizabeth was honored to be selected as a Utah District Finalist at the Metropolitan Opera Competition, was an international finalist at the Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers in 2007, and a semi-finalist at the International Czech and Slovak Competition in both 2007 and 2009.

Ms. Mitchell received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Utah and her Master of Music degree at the University of Michigan, both in Vocal Performance and with scholarship.

 

Goro
Dean is ecstatic to make his main stage debut with Opera Western Reserve as Goro. He has performed in several Mini-Mainstage productions with the company, and has been a Young Artist for OWR for several years. He has performed roles at Youngstown State University including Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. Having sung in the last production of Butterfly 10 years ago, he is elated to grow as a performer with the company. He would like to thank Art for the constant support.

 

Bonze
Hailed as a “buffo with a legitimate voice,” Jason Budd has garnered a reputation for being a consummate singer-actor. Having received accolades for his performances across the United States and Europe, Jason recently made his South American debut with the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff in São Paulo, Brazil. He has also had much success in vocal competitions over the years including wins at the Opera Columbus Competition, the Heinz Rehfuss competition with Orlando Opera, the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year competition with Shreveport Opera, and the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria, which was broadcast on Austrian television. In January, Jason was thrilled to reprise his role as the Pastor in Dawn Sonntag’s Verlorene Heimat which was part of COT’s {NOW} Festival. Recent engagements include performances with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Boston Midsummer Opera, Toledo Opera, Fremont Opera in California, and Opera Western Reserve. In June, he returned to Opera Project Columbus for a role debut in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and in July, he returned to Boston Midsummer Opera to perform one of his signature roles, Bartolo in The Barber of Seville and next year he will reprise the role of Don Magnifico in Boston Midsummer Opera’s La Cenerentola.

 

Kate Pinkerton
Soprano, Rebecca Enlow received her undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University in vocal music education in 2016, and she is set to receive her master’s degree in music theory this December. Rebecca has been a part of the Young Artist program with Opera Western Reserve since 2014, performing several Mini-Mainstage roles, including the title role of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor and Adina in Elixir of Love. While at YSU, she performed several roles with their opera program, including Miss Silverpeal in The Impresario and Adele in Die Fledermaus. Rebecca currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Youngstown State University teaching undergraduate music theory courses

 

Sorrow, Cio Cio San's Child
Hazel Mae Cunningham is a kindergartner at Wilmington Elementary School. She is a ballet and tap student at Ballet Western Reserve. She has danced roles such as Cotton Candy in Cirque de Ballet, a tap dancing crab in Dancing with the Starfish, as well as two Spring Galas at Ballet Western Reserve. Her upcoming dance performance will be in BWR’s, The Nutcracker, December 7th and 9th at Stambaugh Auditorium. Hazel is excited to perform in Opera Western Reserve’s, Madama Butterfly.

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