(Ana María Martínez as Cio-Cio-San and Robert De Biasio as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Photo by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera.)
One of the more popular operas in the Met repository is Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Over the years, the story of the turn of the 20th century Japanese geisha, who marries a U.S. Naval officer and ultimately loses her child to him after he returns with an American wife, has been turned to into a movie a few times, used as a plot point of a movie (M Butterfly) and revamped into a Broadway play (Miss Saigon).
All along since it was first played at the Met in 1907, this opera has been one of the most popular performances in the repository.
Last Friday, it had its season premiere.
For the first two performances, Ana Maria Martinez, sings the title role of Cio-Cio-San in her first starring role of at the Met. She carries the performances throughout the three acts of the play, particularly during the second, where she pines for the return of her beloved Pinkerton. After this past weekend, Hei Kyung Hong will take over the role.
It will be tough for Hong to top Martinez’s performance. Over the three acts, you see her grow into the role and can feel her pain as she pines for her estranged husband. Also coming up strong was Artur Rucinski, singing the role of Sharpless, the American Consul.
Also making a strong debut was conductor Karel Mark Chichon, who will be leading the orchestra throughout the season.
Roberto De Biasio played the cad Pinkerton was not as strong as the others in the cast. However, Maria Zifchak, was very good as Suzuki, Butterfly’s servant.
Played for the last decade with Anthony Minghella’s production, Madama Butterfly has a modernist look that enhances the performances of the singers.
Madama Butterfly will be playing at the Met February 27, March 2, 5, 17, 21, 25, 29, April 2, 6, 9, 12. Curtain times vary. Running time: 3 hours and 18 minutes, including two intermissions.
Tickets begin at $25; for prices, more information, or to place an order, please call (212) 362-6000 or visit www.metopera.org. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling (212) 341-5410 or visiting www.metopera.org/groups.