Boston Lyric Opera to Present Groundbreaking ‘Madama Butterfly’

By Francisco Salazar

The Boston Lyric Opera is set to open its 2023-24 season with a new “Madama Butterfly.”

The production will open at the Emerson Colonial Theatre from Sept. 14 to 24 after a years-long, groundbreaking cultural journey designed to examine the opera’s complex production history. The opera will also be presented by Asian and Asian-American artists seeking to reclaim a nearly 150-year-old narrative, and make it resonate with contemporary audiences.

Stage Director Phil Chan’s production of composer Giacomo Puccini’s opera brings the story of Butterfly and American Naval Officer B.F. Pinkerton into the world of 1940s San Francisco, where many Japanese Americans lived and where racial prejudice was heightened by World War II. In a statement, Chan said, “All the characters in this MADAMA BUTTERFLY are Americans, and none of the story takes place in Japan – or anywhere outside California. As we look to keep the artform thriving, we need to make its stories relevant to the audiences and the people of our time, while making sure the timeless Puccini score is still heard.”

The opera will star Karen Chia-Ling Ho as Butterfly, Alice Chung as Suzuki, Dominick Chenes as Pinkerton, and Troy Cook as Sharpless. BLO Music Director David Angus will lead the work.