The music will be conducted by Sara Jobin, the stage action directed by Keturah Stickann, with sets by Wally Coberg, lighting by Lucas Benjaminh Krech and costumes by Susan Allred. The production stars Mihoko Kinoshita as Cio-Cio-San, Alexey Sayapin as B.F. Pinkerton, Nina Yoshida Nelsen as Suzuki and Krassen Karagiozov as Sharpless.
The latest polls rank Madame Butterfly as No. 7 among the “most-performed” operas in the current repertory. That is one way of gauging its popularity. I suspect, however, that if you could poll the people who don’t normally go in for opera, but who have somehow gotten to a performance of Butterfly, it would rank No. 1.
Puccini’s gift for direct contact with the listener’s emotional core is unequaled by any other composer. It is a gift so powerful and irresistible that in earlier centuries it would have gotten him burned at the stake.
My late brother, who listened almost exclusively to jazz and folk music, found his way into a performance of Butterfly and was overwhelmed. He bought the album and tried to play it for me. At a climactic moment, he jumped up. “This is where the cowardly son-of-a-b**** is giving her the kiss-off!” he said, huskily, and walked out of the room. The line between tragedy and melodrama is always blurry; with Puccini at his best, there is no line at all.
Madame Butterfly will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $28 to $188, and are available at the Granada Theatre box office, 1214 State St., by phone at 805.899.2222 or online by clicking here.