La Monnaie Preview 2016-17: ‘Madama Butterfly’ Run Kicks Off on Jan. 31

By David Salazar

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” returns to La Monnaie on Jan. 31.

The run will feature 11 performances that end on Feb. 14. Tickets start at 10 euros a piece with all but two performances starting at 8 PM local time.

The opera will feature two separate casts. Alexia Voulgaridou and Amanda Echalaz will alternate the title role while Ning Liang and Quilin Zhang will both play Suzuki. Marcelo Puente and Leonardo Caimi will both sing F.B. Pinkerton while Aris Argiris takes on Sharpless. Marta Beretta will portray Kate Pinkerton.

Roberto Rizzi Brignoli and Bassem Akiki both direct the run.

The Opera

Puccini’s work is among the most popular in the entire repertoire. Taking place during the age of American imperialism, the work relates the story of a geisha who is married off to an American that promptly abandons her. Unbeknownst to him, she becomes pregnant and awaits his return. For almost two hours, the audience witnesses as the title character suffers and suffers waiting for her beloved, though everyone around her knows the truth – he won’t come. The opera features some of Puccini’s most fascinating melodies, including the extensive love duet (his finest) and “Un bel di vedremo,” the soprano’s famous aria.

Notable Recordings

History is littered with famous interpreters of the title role. They include Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Maria Callas, Victoria de los Angeles and in more recent times, Kristine Opolais and Patricia Racette. All of these singers, with the exception of Opolais, have recordings of the work.