Speakeysie News Desk
ATLANTA – October 4, 2022 – The Atlanta Opera opens its mainstage season with Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, featuring a cast of leading, international singers that are sure to bring the haunting story of love, longing, and sacrifice to life on the stage.
Created by Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General and Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, this acclaimed production has not been seen in Atlanta for almost a decade. At the time, it was hailed by audiences and reviewers alike for its shimmery, cinematicquality that was “pure Puccini.” Opera News wrote, “Whether it was a muted view of the Nagasaki Harbor or cherry blossoms, Butterfly became a multimedia event with exciting operatic singing.”
“I look forward to bringing these incredibly talented singers to Atlanta. We have delayed this production twice due to the pandemic,” Zvulun said. “So much has changed in the world since we last presented Madame Butterfly and we are excited to recreate this beloved production through a fresh, new lens that features a real powerhouse cast.”
Kevin and Momo Suzuki, of the Japanese folk dance in New York will join the creative team to incorporate authentic movement. The company is planning a series of events and community conversations along with partners such as the Japan American Society of Georgia.
The Friday night performance (November 11) will be livestreamed on the opera’s Spotlight Media platform (stream.atlantaopera.org).
The cast will be led by Japanese soprano Yasko Sato, who has built a worldwide reputation for her portrayal of Cio-Cio San. In a recent performance in Seattle, reviewers raved. Sato showed herself to be “consistently breathtaking” (Oregon Arts-Watch), while the Seattle Times said, “A lyrical singer and an affecting actress, she can convey vivid emotion in a single gesture or expression.”
Joining Sato as Pinkerton is Italian tenor Gianluca Terranova, who previously triumphed in the role in London’s Royal Opera House as well as in Verona and the Dallas Opera. A firm Atlanta favorite, Terranova has already played the leading men in house productions of Carmen, La bohème and Turandot.
The production also features the return of Nina Yoshida Nelsonas Suzuki. Hailed as a “richly powerful singing actress” (Broadway World), Nelsen has captivated audiences throughout North America and Europe with her world class voice and magnetic stage presence. Nelson will also lead an Atlanta Opera original podcast that will center around Asian representation in the arts.
Versatile Tenor Julius Ahn returns to The Atlanta Opera in his signature role of Goro. A role that he has performed around the world, critics have hailed Ahn’s performances as the marriage broker, saying he “deliver(s) the wickedness of his character with gusto.”
Timothy Myers, internationally acclaimed for his eloquence, energy and command on the podium, will lead this production. Recognized for his ability to engage audiences through his in-depth and versatile artistic planning, Myers keeps a busy schedule of operatic and concert performances around the world while also serving as principal conductor and artistic advisor to the Austin Opera.
The Atlanta Opera presents Madama Butterfly on Nov. 5, 8, 11 and 13 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets start at $48 and can be purchased at atlantaopera.org or by calling 404-881-8885. The opera will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.
Presented in partnership with the Japan-American Society of Georgia, The Atlanta Opera will offer a variety of events that will explore the problematic racial and gender stereotypes that are associated with the opera.
The production will be filmed by Felipe Barral and will be released on The Atlanta Opera’s Spotlight Media streaming platform in 2023. A livestream of the Friday night performance will be available for Spotlight Media members in real time.
About The Atlanta Opera
The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to build the major international opera company that Atlanta deserves, while reimagining what opera can be. Founded in 1979, the company works with world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form. Under the leadership of internationally recognized stage director and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, The Atlanta Opera expanded from three to four mainstage productions at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and launched the acclaimed Discoveries series. In recent years, the company has been named among the “Best of 2015” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been nominated for a 2016 International Opera Award, and won ArtsATL’s 2019 Luminary Award for Community Engagement in recognition of its successful Veterans Program in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation. In addition, The Atlanta Opera was featured in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study about successful organizational growth, and Zvulunpresented a TEDx Talk at Emory University titled “The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Atlanta Opera was one of the only companies in the world to create a full, alternative season, consisting of no less than 40 live performances in two different outdoor venues, including a revolutionary custom-designed circus tent. The fundraising goal was tripled, and four new productions were created, each of which employed 150 cast, crew and staff. The critically acclaimed productions and concerts were streamed in HD in the newly created streaming platform “Spotlight Media,” allowing The Atlanta Opera to reach a global audience. National media coverage of the “pandemic season” included features in the Wall Street Journal and PBS Newshour. For more information, visit atlantaopera.org.
By Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa
Conductor: Timothy Myers
Stage Director: Tomer Zvulun
Set design: Erhard Rom
Costume Design: Allen Charles Klein
Cio-Cio San: Yasko Sato
Lt. B.F. Pinkerton: Gianluca Terranova
Suzuki: Nina Yoshida Nelsen
Sharpless: Craig Colclough
Goro: Julius Ahn
Prince Yamadori: Leroy Davis
The Imperial Commissioner: Allen Michael Jones
Kate Pinkerton: Gretchen Krupp