Madama Butterfly coming to The Orchard, Dartford
PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 November 2019
It's a classic, but it took poor Puccini five goes to get it right, and now you can see it in all its operatic glory when Madama Butterfly comes to Dartford early next year.
Award-winning producer Ellen Kent brings the tragedy to the Orchard Theatre, featuring international soloists, full chorus and orchestra.
This traditional production of Puccini's masterpiece, one of the world's most popular operas, arrives at The Orchard on February 5.
Korean soprano Elena Dee returns to sing her critically acclaimed role as Cio Cio San.
The opera will also feature Vasyl Vasylenko, artistic director and conductor for the National President's Orchestra of Ukraine, Kiev and the guest conductor and artistic director of the National Opera of Moldova, Nicolae Dohotaru with 30 members of the National Ukrainian Orchestra, Kiev and the National Moldovan Opera.
Madama Butterfly is Puccini's tragic tale of love and drama that Miss Saigon was based on when it arrived in the West End.
It remains one of the world's most popular operas, and tells the heart-breaking story of a beautiful young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval lieutenant - with dramatic results.
Highlights include the melodic Humming Chorus, the moving aria Un bel di vedremo (One Fine Day), the famous tenor aria Amore o grillo (Love or fancy) and the unforgettable Bimba, Bimba, non piangere (Love Duet).
It is performed among some exciting stage sets featuring a Japanese garden and fabulous costuming including antique wedding kimonos from Japan. The story will be told in the original Italian with English subtitles.
As with any of Ellen Kent's shows, Madama Butterfly is set to be a visually beautiful and moving production.
She said: "My operas have to be emotional and beautiful."
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She said Elena Dee gives a poignant and emotional performance and was originally spotted by Ellen when she was working under the musical direction of the great Moldovan baritone, Vladimir Dragos.
She was a talented classical pianist but was hoping to become a soprano. Ellen auditioned her and suggested she came back when she had acquired more experience vocally. Ellen auditioned Elena again some years later and the rest is history.
She went on to sing Aida, Tosca and Mimi in Ellen's productions.
Her portrayals of these roles were stunning both musically and dramatically, according to Ellen.
Alyona Kistenyova is returning after her critically acclaimed performances in Aida, La Boheme, Carmen, Tosca and Die Fledermaus, Rigoletto and La Traviata.
The part of Pinkerton is still being decided. It is likely to be the Ukrainian tenor Vitalii Liskovetskyi from the Kiev National Opera who originally trained as a military pilot and made his debut on an Ellen Kent tour in 2015 in Carmen and Tosca.
Or Giorgio Meladze, a Spanish tenor, who has sung in all the major opera houses in Europe including with José Carreras in 2014, will also be in the opera.
Myroslava Shvakh-Pekar, Mezzo soprano from the Ukrainian National Opera of Lviv, will be making her debut in the role of Suzuki. She has been part of the chorus for several opera tours for Ellen Kent and on the last tour in the spring of 2018, she understudied the role.
Ellen gave her Contessa di Ceprano in Rigoletto and the small part of Kate Pinkerton in Butterfly. She stood out vocally and dramatically and was asked to audition for the role of Suzuki.
Ellen will be directing her in Suzuki and feels Myroslava will go onto greater roles. She already has auditioned her for Carmen for the spring 2021 tour.
Iurie Gisca, the celebrated Moldovan baritone, returns to sing Sharpless, the American consul. He triumphed in his debut of Rigoletto in spring 2018 and has also sung Nabucco, Amonasro in Aida and excelled in Carmen as Escamillo.
You can book tickets online at orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01322 220000.