The title role in “Madama Butterfly” is one that many sopranos, both past and present, have made their own. Lianna Haroutounian is among the artists on that list and this week she reminds audiences why as she brings her acclaimed portrayal of Cio-Cio-San to the Hamburg State Opera in her house debut.
The Armenian soprano recently performed the work in San Francisco and Amsterdam and the results were exciting. Critics noted that it was a Butterfly for the ages in part because of Haroutounian. Critics said, “the soprano inhabits the role completely and decisively, tracing the character’s arc from shy hopefulness to utter despair. The role’s gleaming high notes and poignant utterances are hers to command, and she made the most of them throughout this revival.” And indeed after such a successful interpretation in San Francisco, audiences should expect nothing less.
After all the soprano has recently impressed in numerous assignments including a revival of Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra” at the Metropolitan Opera and in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at the Royal Opera House, the house where she broke out in Verdi’s “Don Carlo” in 2013. That breakout run made her a promising Verdi soprano and one that most houses recognized as a special talent. Her stellar work in “Don Carlo” immediately led her to be Antonio Pappano’s choice in Verdi’s “Les Vespers
Her stellar work in “Don Carlo” immediately made her Antonio Pappano’s choice in Verdi’s “Les Vespers Siciliennes,” which was later released on DVD. Since then she has been a draw in all the major houses including Zurich, Bilbao, Vienna and Verbier. She has also conquered the roles of Mimì in Puccini’s “La Bohème” and Violetta in “La Traviata,” expanding her repertory in various directions.
As a rising star, Hartounian is sure to conquer Hamburg with her visceral portrayal as Cio-Cio-San and should easily become a mainstay with the house.