Welsh National Opera has announced more details of its Autumn 2021 Season which includes a new production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly.
It follows the announcement that Wales Millennium Centre, its home base, is opening the main auditorium, the Donald Gordon Theatre, on September 9, in time for the WNO season.
The Company has confirmed it is reviving the 1986 Giles Havergal production of The Barber of Seville rather than the more recent Sam Brown outing, although several cast members will be reprise the roles including Nicholas Lester as Figaro, Nico Darmanin Count Almaviva. Heather Lowe returns to WNO as Rosina, after her Company debut in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in 2018, and Keel Watson makes his WNO debut as Basilio. He will also sing The Bonze in Madam Butterfly.
Soprano Joyce El-Khoury returns to WNO and makes her role debut as Cio-Cio San in the new Butterfly. She shares the role with Alexia Voulgaridou who makes her WNO debut. Also making Company debuts are Leonardo Caimi as Pinkerton and Neil Balfour as Prince Yamadori. The role of Pinkerton is shared with Peter Auty who was last with WNO in a 2019 production of Carmen. The role of Suzuki is also shared between Anna Harvey and Kezia Bienek. Completing the cast are Tom Randle and Mark Stone.
Lindy Hume, Madam Butterfly director said, “This is not a business-as-usual moment. The last 18 months especially have brought home our hunger for human connection through live performance, especially live music. It is thrilling to anticipate that moment of reconnection with the magnificent artists and audiences of Welsh National Opera with the creation of a new production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, a work of great beauty and brutality. In these times of complexity, uncertainty, and change, I relish this creative journey with the cast and team at WNO as we revisit and reimagine this much-loved opera.”
WNO Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi said, “The story, the drama and the characters of Madam Butterfly come to life through Puccini’s music so honest, unequivocal and clear. This is why this piece will always feel modern and relevant to me and this is why it has endured the test of time. I believe that this opera and particularly Cio-Cio San with her strong and complex character speaks very specifically to each new generation of opera-goer. The magic of Puccini guides us as we enter the world, the emotions and the feelings of a woman alone against everybody but that stands by the choices that she has made for love. It is this magic, that I hope to share with the WNO audience”
Tour details: wno.org.uk
Main image: the revived Barber of Seville production