OPERA San Antonio Madama Butterfly 2015

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A Message from the Chairman and General Manager Dear Friends, It is a great pleasure to welcome you back to the Tobin Center’s H-E-B Performance Hall for OPERA San Antonio’s second season. We are proud to be the resident opera company of the Tobin Center and are honored to have you with us as we continue our mission to provide the greater San Antonio community with very high level operatic productions. Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly ranks among the world’s most popular operas. We are delighted to have the collaboration of the San Antonio Symphony and its Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing in OSA’s production of this beloved work. None of our productions would be possible without the extraordinary generosity and support from our Board of Directors, the City’s Department for Culture and Creative Development, Bexar County, the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, The Tobin Endowment, Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts, Charles E. Butt, H-E-B, Frost Bank Charitable Foundation, The Gorman Foundation, Charles Schwab, the Greehey Family Foundation, Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation, Texas Capital Bank, AT&T, Valero Energy Foundation, the Ewing Halsell Foundation, NuStar Energy, Silver Eagle Distributing Company, and the San Antonio Area Foundation. The sets and costumes for our performance were originally crafted at Glimmerglass Opera Festival in 2014, and we are proud to remount this incredible production with some of the nation’s most talented artists and production team members. We could not present productions of this caliber without their work, both behind the scenes and on the stage in front of you tonight. Our past productions were acclaimed nationally for their high artistic quality, and I am certain we will uphold this standard as we perform this evening. OPERA San Antonio is committed to bringing you the best of opera, productions and artists; operas which you could enjoy in many major capitals throughout the world – but we are enjoying this tremendous art form right here in San Antonio! It is only with the support of our community that we can continue to grow and offer you the best of this very special combination of all the arts which can make us see, feel, and hear the world differently. I hope you enjoy the performance, and I look forward to your continued support of OPERA San Antonio. Our future will be possible only through your support. When considering your financial giving, please keep OSA on the top of your lists. Please be generous, so that we can further our efforts to enrich our community with extremely high-caliber performances and the best opera has to offer. With sincere appreciation,

Mel Weingart, Chairman and General Manager

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2015-2016 Season Donors

Thank you!

The Board of Directors, artists, and staff of OPERA San Antonio gratefully acknowledge the generous support from our donors: (Donations received by September 20, 2015) Founder’s Circle ($100,000 and above)

Board of Directors Mel Weingart, Chairman Blair Labatt, Vice Chairman John Asel, Treasurer Maryanne Guido, Secretary

Mr. Charles C. Butt Department of Culture and Creative Development Frost Bank Charitable Foundation Kronkosky Charitable Foundation Mr. and Mrs. Blair Labatt The Tobin Endowment

Chairman’s Circle ($50,000 to $99,999) Bexar County Commissioner’s Court The Greehey Family Foundation Terence W. Touhey Valero Energy Foundation Mr. and Mrs. Mel Weingart

Sheldon Braverman Karen Diaz Eugene Dowdy A. Baker Duncan Linda Hardberger James McCutcheon James Nester Eduardo Parra Marc Raney

Underwriter ($25,000 to $49,999) Mr. and Mrs. A. Baker Duncan Mr. Cosmo Guido, in honor of Toni Guido Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Guido H-E-B Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation

Sponsor ($10,000 to $24,999)

Ex-Officio Sue Storm, President of the Opera Guild of San Antonio

Asel and Associates AT&T Braverman Family Charitable Foundation Mr. and Mrs. James F. Dicke, III. Tom Edson Charles A. Forster Mrs. Alice Carrington Foultz Terry Scott Dr. Kimberly Terry Texas Capital Bank Mr. Dale Tremblay Mr. and Mrs. Albert Vale

Patron ($5,000 to $9,999)

Dr. and Mrs. Barry Beller Charles Schwab & Co. The Ewing Halsell Foundation The Fletcher Jones Foundation Mrs. Marie Halff Howard and Betty Halff Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation Jim and Agnes Lowe Fdn. Drs. Joe Johnson and Karen Diaz NuStar Energy Opera Auditions Southwest Region Acorn Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation


OPERA San Antonio

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Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Schulz Al Silva Silver Eagle Distributors Charitable Fund Ms. Alice C. Simkins Ruth Eilene Sullivan

Benefactor ($2,500 to $4,999) Dr. and Mrs. Ronald K. Calgaard Mr. James Calvert Israel Fogiel Terri and Lonnie Gates Hon. and Mrs. Phil Hardberger Jim and Roxie Hayne Philip J. Sibley David and Arlene Starr Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Welder, III.

Fellow ($1,000 to $2,499)

Aaron Asel Ms. Ann Griffith Ash Pamela Bain Betty Barnes J Cary Barton Mr. and Mrs. James R. Berg Mr. and Mrs. Michael L. Birnbaum Mrs. Margie Boldrick John D. Bray Antoinette Browning Michael Christopher Mrs. George J. Condos Robert and Rozana Corbo Lisa S. Cox Mr. and Mrs. Al Ely Douglas and Margaret Endsley Martin and Marcia Epner Richard and Dianne Fetchick Five and Dime General Stores, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Potter Jeffery S. and Jana B. Galt Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gentry Dr. James E. Griffin III Herrmann Family Charitable Foundation Mr. Ed B. Hymson Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Labatt Dr. and Mrs. Dan Leonard Mr. James Lifshutz David and Kathleen Meriwether Buddy Morris Roland C. Mower Mr. and Mrs. James Nester


Fellow (continued)

Mr. and Mrs. William A. Parker Eduardo Parra Pamela Person Gail and Marc Raney Mr. Epitacio R. V. Resendez Ms. Carolyn B. Sanders Shell Oil Company Matching Gifts Foundation Dr. Marvin Smith Dr. Edward R. Staffel Mrs. Margaret King Stanley Macgregor Stephenson Terracina Family Charitable Fund Mr. and Mrs. Dan G. Webster Loren S. Weingart and John F. Mooney Mr. and Mrs. Keith Young Bartell and Mollie Zachry Jeffery S. and Jana B. Galt

Contributor ($500 to $999)

John B Abeyta Melissa and Eugene Coker Mr. Michael Davis Laraine M. Evans John H Frederick Richard and Toni Goldsmith Antonio Gragera John Hornbeak William McCrary McNelis + Winter PLLC Leah Pagan and George Olivarri Dr. Michael Ozer Ms. Chere Reneau, in honor of Bebe Canales Inkley Iris Rubin Sheryl Sculley The Marshall T. Steves Sr. Foundation Harry Swearingen Mrs. Janelle Tye Brian and Tina Weiner Mr. and Mrs. David Zachry

Supporter ($250 to $499) Mr. Larry Adamson A J Anderson Mrs. William Arlitt Dr. Karen Balcom Mr. Walter Bell Mr. and Mrs. Bradford R. Breuer Antonio J. Cantafio Elizabeth Cauthorn Janice and Bert Clayton Dr. Mel Cohen Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Drought Dr. Harry Eastman Joel K. Erben Nicole and Mark Greenberg James Griffin Mr. and Mrs. Norman Idleberg Martin and Frederica Kushner


Ms. Grace Bramlette Labatt Mrs. Taddy McAllister Mildred and Oscar Ehrenberg Family Fund Shell Koontz Morrison Dr. Joseph P. Murgo Phil Muth Mr. James Nelson Daniel and Cynthia O’Connor Mr. and Mrs. Ira Ross Elva Ruiz Sarah E. Harte and John S. Gutzler Fund Mrs. Arthur A. Seeligson, Jr. Dr. and Mrs. C. Wayne Shore Rabbi Samuel and Lynn Stahl Elsie Steg Mr. and Mrs. Joe Westheimer Anthony A. White

Friend ($100 to $249)

Dr. Horatio Aldredge Diana Andrus Marie Barrett Ms. Marion Bell Kim Biffle Sharon O’Malley Burg Dr. Terry Burns Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa Liz Conklyn Sally T. Cooper Mrs. Heather Diehl Dr. Eugene Dowdy Mr. Gary Finger Roger Graham Ms. Diana S. Hamner Cecilia Herrera Emma Heymann Ms. Mary Jane Howe Yvette Kalter Aren Murray Anne Parrish Dana Pentia Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Powell, Jr. Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Rosenthal Sandy and Henny Sands Mr. and Mrs. James L. Satel Eddy Snell Ms. Judith Sobre Carol Sugarman Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Sue Turner Peggy Walker Candace and Warren White Ms. Claire G. White Dr. Yilmaz Yetmen Francisco G. Zarate


Blair Labatt, Al Silva and Labatt Food Supply ($50,000) The Symphony Society of San Antonio ($39,000)

OPERA San Antonio

Puccini’s Unerring Theatrical Instincts According to Operabase (an online database of opera stats), the operas of Giacomo Puccini occupy three of the top ten spots for number of performances in the season most recently tallied. And that’s not an anomaly. The individual rankings might change a bit from season to season, but in general Puccini has long held an unyielding place in the “blockbuster” list of most-beloved operas.

Through careful research the composer gathered a series of Japanese melodies derived from popular or folk tunes as well as kabuki theater, weaving them into the fabric of the score. The Japanese setting inspires some of Puccini’s most refined orchestration, with its intricate blends of woodwinds and extended percussion. As a counterpart, the broadly spanning “Star-Spangled Banner” does service as an emblem for Pinkerton, a Yankee Don Juan. (This tune, incidentally, had not yet become the National Anthem when Puccini composed the score but was known instead as the official Navy hymn.)

How? It goes without saying that Puccini possessed a superb gift for creating unforgettable melodies. But, then, so do quite a few other composers. What is it about the way Puccini uses his melodic gift — along with all the other dimensions of his musical imagination — that makes us keep craving an encounter with works like Madama Butterfly?

Pinkerton’s impetuous first-act ode to enjoying the moment with his new Japanese bride (“Amore o grillo”) represents in microcosm the contradiction at the heart of the opera. Not only is he willing to spin this illusion of happiness without regard to the consequences: Cio-Cio-San (“Madama Butterfly” is the artificial name by which she is known to her clients) willingly goes along, for reasons of her own.

Their pull is ultimately rooted in the composer’s extraordinary and reliable instinct for the theater: in his skill at making characters and situations come to life through music. This kind of musical-dramatic truth involves homing in on conflicts that we can relate to, intensifying them through music; and it also means knowing how to pace details as they build toward an inevitable climax.

The story of Madama Butterfly grafts this intimate psychological drama of tragic disillusionment onto a dynamic of “culture clash” between East and West, which leaves the protagonists engulfed in incompatible points of view.

All of these characteristics ensure the success of Butterfly as we know it — though it took extra hard work to perfect the opera into its final form. (See p. 18 for a capsule summary of Madama Butterfly’s evolution into its final form.) It’s fitting that Puccini found the initial inspiration for two of his most-cherished operas during live experiences in the theater. As early as 1889, before he had established himself as an opera composer, Puccini saw a performance of French playwright Victorien Sardou’s La Tosca on its Italian tour. He immediately saw the potential for a work that would take shape seven years later. Puccini explained this in a lucid description of the aesthetic that appealed to him as an opera composer: an aesthetic that had little use for the staid formulas of grand opera, preferring a more realistic portrayal of emotional conflicts. Sardou’s play, he said, seemed to contain “the opera that is just right for me: one without excessive proportions, neither of decorative spectacle, nor such as occasion the usual musical excesses.” Similarly, it was during an excursion to the theater in the summer of 1900 in London — where the first foreign production of Tosca was being presented — that Puccini attended a one-act play Madame Butterfly by David Belasco, the San Francisco-born, trend-setting producer, director, and playwright. Despite the composer’s lack of English, it made an immediately overwhelming impression. “The more I think about Butterfly,” wrote Puccini, “the more excited I become.” Securing the rights proved to be tricky, but by the spring of 1901 the way was cleared. Puccini enlisted the same pair of librettists with whom he had so successfully collaborated for La Bohème and Tosca, his two preceding operas. Their customary division of labor gave Luigi Illica the preliminary task of preparing the detailed scenario and a prose draft of the dialogue, while Giuseppe Giacosa, a renowned poet, was responsible for versifying the text. Puccini also played a characteristically interventionist role in shaping the libretto from initial conception through Butterfly’s numerous revisions. The divergent angles from which the composer and his librettists approached the material helped generate some of the fundamental tensions that underlie the opera. “It’s understandable that Butterfly belongs on the list of the most-performed operas ever,” says Maria Kanova, an acclaimed Cio-Cio-San who takes on the role in our production. “Puccini took a lot of time with it, rewriting things to get every detail just right.” Audiences may be fully aware of the opera’s tragic outcome yet find themselves drawn again and again into reliving Puccini’s depiction of the young former geisha who gives herself over entirely to a love that ends up destroying her. And with good reason: Puccini reinforces the story’s emotional intensity by masterfully integrating its musical and dramatic dimensions. In the process, he develops Cio-Cio-San into one of the most richly characterized heroines in opera — a far cry from the sentimental, “fragile” victim she is sometimes mistakenly assumed to represent. While Belasco’s play served as a creative trigger, Puccini realized early on that it wouldn’t be enough merely to try to “translate” it into operatic terms. From the start he was determined to expand on the play with a preliminary act that would anchor the background of the ill-fated marriage between Cio-Cio-San and Lt. B.F. Pinkerton and highlight the contrast between the Japanese and American perspectives. (Puccini initially even suggested setting the first act in North America.) 12 OPERA San Antonio

Director Garnett Bruce explains how the source production for OPERA San Antonio’s staging, which was created by the acclaimed director Francesca Zambello in 1998, was animated by a desire “to show the difference in their cultures, underscoring what happens when a brash young American storms into a traditional culture and creates a lot of damage without realizing it.” Visually, the production emphasizes these stark contrasts, with a thrilling theatricality to complement Puccini’s emotionally rich score. “This isn’t a 19th-century vision of what a Japanese garden might look like,” says Bruce. “Rather, it’s about creating a psychological space to showcase Cio-Cio-San’s interior journey. And representing these two communities onstage — the Asian and American — creates its own tension and dynamic,” in a way that can bring to mind “the situation of immigrants today.” In the opera’s original (failed) version Pinkerton emerged as a distinctly more negative character. The dramatic layout contrasted stereotypes of his Yankee aggression with others of Japanese “delicacy.” The tenor Adam Diegel, a well-seasoned Pinkerton who takes on the role in our production, points out that in the original version, “Pinkerton is not redeemable at all — he says horrible things about Japanese culture and Cio-CioSan’s family and behaves deplorably; and then you don’t see him for the rest of the opera. I have played him in ways where he comes across as a total cad and you have no sympathy for him. But I think it’s important to have some sort of redeeming quality to him.” Puccini later added the aria Pinkerton sings in the final act (“Addio, fiorito asil”), shortly before the tragic outcome, which helps to make the character less odious. Diegel also points out that his extended love duet with Cio-Cio-San at the end of the first act contains “some of the most glorious music Puccini ever wrote.” Its rapturous character signals to us that “he really did love Cio-Cio-San in this moment.” Pinkerton’s sudden realization of what has guided his behavior in the later “Addio” aria carries a tragic echo of the luminous love music of the first act. As for pacing, Puccini doesn’t need to rely on lots of external stage action to generate his brand of drama. The first act builds in anticipation of the arrival of Cio-Cio-San. We first see her in the context of her relatives before she is made an outcast and left alone with Pinkerton; at the opening of the second act, she in turn awaits Pinkerton (an idea that gets poetically elaborated in the matchless scene of her all-night vigil). In each case, fantasy collides with reality. The opera unfolds with many such parallels and interior echoes, all reinforcing the drive toward its final outcome. Puccini’s publisher expressed misgivings about the Madama Butterfly project from the onset, suggesting that the story was little more than an insipid tearjerker unworthy of the composer (a verdict that’s often been repeated since). Yet for Puccini, the source material enabled him to further sharpen his theatrical instincts and at the same time to expand and enrich his orchestral palette. Defying the humiliation of the opening night fiasco in Milan, Puccini declared: “My Butterfly remains as it is: the most heartfelt and evocative opera I have ever conceived!” - Thomas May is a writer, critic, educator, and translator. Along with writing for such institutions as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Symphony and Opera, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony, he serves as the English program editor for the Lucerne Festival. His books include Decoding Wagner and The John Adams Reader. He also writes for Musical America and blogs about the arts at www.memeteria.com.

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PRESENTS Giacomo Puccini

Madama Butterfly

Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica Premier: February 17, 1904, La Scala

Thursday October 1, 2015 7:30pm │ Saturday October 3, 2015 7:30pm H-E-B Performance Hall │ Tobin Center for the Performing Arts Stage Director

Garnett Bruce

Conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing

Assistant Director

Lighting Designer

Conor Hanratty

Alan Burrett

Wig and Make-Up Designer

Chorus Master

Stephanie Williams

Stephen Dubberly

Pre-Performance Lecture

Dr. Kay Lipton

Wardrobe Supervisor Raul McGinnes, SRO, Inc.

Stage Manager Kathleen Edwards

Technical Director & Production Manager Steve Grair

Originally directed by Francesca Zambello Costumes Designed by Anita Yavich Costumes are owned by San Diego Opera Scenery designed by Michael Yeargan The Scenery was originally created for Glimmerglass Festival Projected titles design by Kelley Rourke originally for Glimmerglass Festival


OPERA San Antonio

Cio-Cio-San Maria Kanyova

Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton Adam Diegel

Suzuki Kristen Choi

Sharpless Luis Ledesma

Goro Steven Cole

Prince Yamadori Matthew Arnold

The Bonze Matthew Arnold

The Imperial Commissioner Ronald Ulen

Kate Pinkerton Orit Amy Eylon

The Official Registrar Chiawei Lee and Trouble Jacob Aiden Kania Madama Butterfly Chorus

Lindsay Selli * Diane Green Nancy Poffenbarger Valerie Serna Kara Smoot Rachel Tiemann

Kristin Burnam Madeline Elizondo Sarah Garcia Celeste Morales Erin Sheehy Denise Wathen

*chorus secretary

Raymond Baird Mark Covey Jonathan Kennon John Navarette Neal Patel Leo Perez Basel Sarweh Thomas Soto Jacob Valadez

Supernumeraries Bailey Britten Eileen Dong Feng Dong Gabrielle Geremia Josie Geremia Lorraine Geremia Leonor Jimenez Jane Kamata Masahiko Kamata Rachel Kamata w w w. o p e ra s a . o r g

Lilly Li Veronica Morrison Virginia Peche Susan Qiu Jae Samudio Linksey Van de Kirk Julie Wang Victoria Wang Theresa Yuan 15

Production Credits Music Director, Sebastian Lang-Lessing

Associate Conductor, Akiko Fujimoto │ Music Director Emeritus, Christopher Wilkins Violin I


Eric Gratz, Elizabeth H. Coates Concertmaster Chair Bonnie Terry, Associate Concertmaster Sarah Silver, Assistant Concertmaster Joan Christenson Beth Girko* Philip Johnson Bassam Nashawati Anastasia Parker* Laura Scalzo Renia Shterenberg* Andrew Small* Craig Sorgi

Thomas Huckaby, Principal David Milburn, Assistant Principal Nicholas Browne James Chudnow Zlatan Redzic Steve Zeserman

Violin II

Julie Luker

Mary Ellen Goree, Principal Karen Stiles, Assistant Principal Cleo Aufderhaar Angela Caporale* Beth Johnson* Judy Levine-Holley Sayaka Okada* Eric Siu* Aimee Toomes* Amy Venticinque* Stephanie Teply Westney*


Patrick Montgomery+, Principal Michael Maier1, Assistant Principal Ilan Morgenstern

English Horn

Jennifer Berg, Sarah Knapp Kidd English Horn Chair

Assistant Principal Chair

Beverly Harnish Bias1 Beth Breslin Marisa Bushman Kayleigh Miller Terry Stolow



Martha Long, Principal Jean Robinson Julie Luker, Associate Principal


Allyson Dawkins, Col. and Mrs. Ran Watson Principal Chair Emily Watkins Freudigman, Alice Viola Winters Eidson

Kenneth Freudigman, Mary Rohe Principal Chair David Mollenauer, Assistant Principal Barbara George Morgen Johnson Lachezar Kostov Ryan Murphy Vacant


John Carroll, Principal Lauren Eberhart Jan Roller, Assistant Principal

Paul Lueders, Ewing Halsell Foundation Principal Chair Hideaki Okada, Assistant Principal Jennifer Berg



Jeff Garza, Abraham M. Sidorsky Principal Chair Peter Rubins+, Associate Principal Vacant Adedeji Ogunfolu


Bass Trombone

Ilan Morgenstern


Lee Hipp, Principal



Peter Flamm, Principal Riely Francis, Assistant Principal

E-flat Clarinet

Riley Francis, Principal David Reinecke, Assistant Principal Bill Patterson

Bass Clarinet

Rachel Ferris, Principal


Greg Vaught, Principal Allison Bates

Ilya Shterenberg, Principal Stephanie Key, Assistant Principal Rodney Wollam Stephanie Key

Rodney Wollam Sharon Kuster, Principal Brian Petkovich, Assistant Principal Ron Noble

Contrabassoon Ron Noble

Marketing and Public Relations by LHA Public Relations, Laura Hernandez Aplin

Graphic Design by Full Nelson Productions, Jennifer Nelson

Program Advertising by Traveling Blender, Louis Doucette

Artist Transportation and Hospitality by Opera Guild of San Antonio, Joan Miller




Musician Emeritus

Mark Ackerman, oboe Harvey Biskin, timpani

Stage & Operations Manager, DeAnna D’Egidio │ Orchestra Personnel Manager, Kathy Nix *

Voluntarily rotates between violin sections Temporary + Acting 1


Production Rehearsal Accompanist Dottie Randall Assistant Stage Manager Carli Werner Assistant Lighting Designer Anthony Jannuzzi Lighting Assistant Justin Beets Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor Kristina Horwath Wig and Make-Up Assistants Charles Douglas Gianna Hernandez Joe Laracuente Production Assistants Kimberly DeLeon Quinton Sanders Properties Richard Solis Supertitles Lydia Benedict Program Content Writer Thomas May Company Photographer Karen Almond

OPERA San Antonio

Special Thanks Children’s Chorus of San Antonio Anne Schelleng Ghost Light Society Hot Joy IATSE Local 76 Japan America Society of Greater Austin Japan America Society of San Antonio Mariana Lopez Levi “Opera Joe” McKesson McNay Art Museum Kate Carey, Jody Blake Opera Guild of San Antonio Joan Miller, Loretta Huddleston, Terry Touhey, Julene Franki The Radius Center w w w. o p e ra s a . o r g

San Antonio Asian Chamber of Commerce San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce San Antonio Public Library Vicki Ash SRO Associates, Inc. The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and all the staff and volunteers Trinity University, ALE Program Dr. Carl Leafstedt University of the Incarnate Word Dr. Kevin Salfen University of Texas San Antonio Dr. Bill McCrary Youth Orchestra of San Antonio


Perfecting Madama Butterfly


Cast (in order of vocal appearance)

The English-language play Madame Butterfly that inspired Puccini to write his opera was a one-act by the American David Belasco, an enormously influential figure in theater at the time. Belasco commanded a meticulous attention to detail, creating a naturalistic ambience.

Goro, a marriage broker, briefs the American Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton on what he can expect while in Japan. Pinkerton explains to Sharpless, the American consul, that he intends to marry a young Japanese girl. After he is introduced to the girl, Butterfly, they are married according to Japanese custom. The Bonze, Butterfly’s uncle, who has learned that Butterfly has adopted her new husband’s religion, denounces her. Pinkerton consoles his bride.

Adam Diegel (Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton)

But the story didn’t start with him. Belasco had adapted a short story of the same name by the Philadelphia-based lawyer John Luther Long, which appeared in Century Magazine in January 1898. Much of the play’s dialogue, which has Butterfly resort to a baby-like, pidgin English, was in fact taken from Long. Belasco introduced the tragic denouement of Butterfly’s suicide, however. In Long’s account, just as she attempts harakiri, “the little maid came in and bound up the wound,” saving Butterfly. Long’s narrative in turn drew on a fashionable autobiographical novel: Madame Chrysanthème, published in 1887 under the pen name Pierre Loti, aka Julien Viaud, a naval officer who had firsthand experience of Japan. Loti’s amoral account of his erotic adventures and marriage of convenience abroad became a staple of the fin-de-siècle genre of Western “Orientalist” fantasy, but his tone mixes realism and cynicism, while his descriptions of Japanese culture are characterized by racist contempt.

Three years later, Pinkerton has returned to the United States; Butterfly and her maid, Suzuki, wait in Japan for him. Goro insists that Pinkerton has deserted Butterfly and attempts to interest her in a new husband, but she refuses. When Sharpless, too, tries to convince her to move on, Butterfly reveals her son by Pinkerton. A cannon sounds and Pinkerton’s ship is seen in the harbor. Butterfly and Suzuki make preparations to greet him. After a long vigil, Butterfly puts her child to bed. Sharpless appears with Pinkerton and Kate, Pinkerton’s American wife; they ask Suzuki to break the news of their marriage to Butterfly. Pinkerton leaves, distraught. When Butterfly receives the news, she agrees to send the child back to America with his father, but only if Pinkerton comes for him. Dismissing everyone, she contemplates a family heirloom - the dagger her father used to kill himself.

Recent: Cavaradossi, Tosca, Seattle Opera; Pinkerton, Madama Butterfly, Metropolitan Opera, Atlanta Opera; Don Jose, Carmen, English National Opera, Sydney Opera; Ismaele, Nabucco, Metropolitan Opera Upcoming: Don Jose, Carmen, Arizona Opera; title role in Don Carlo, Lithuanian National Opera

Steven Cole (Goro)

Tenor (Baltimore, MD) Recent: Don Buscone, Veremonda, Spoleto Festival; L’Abbé, Adriana Lecouvreur, Nice Opera; Spalanzani, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Seattle Opera Upcoming: Basilio, Le nozze di Figaro, Seattle Opera; Bardolfo, Falstaff, Antwerp Opera; Don Eusebio, L’occasione fa il ladro, Gotham Opera; Creation/Creator, Atlanta Symphony

Kristen Choi (Suzuki)

Mezzo-soprano (Valencia, CA) Recent: Paquette, Candide, Glimmerglass Opera; Cherubino, Le nozze di Figaro, Sarasota Opera; Lady Thiang, The King and I, The Marriott Theatre; Suzuki, Madama Butterfly, Glimmerglass Opera; Jo, Little Women, Opera North Upcoming: performer in The Industry’s Hopscotch in Los Angeles

Photography by Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Belasco’s play was the source for the opera’s second part, after Pinkerton has already abandoned his new bride. For the initial version of the first part, Puccini’s librettists harvested material from both Long and Loti, with its even more-odious depiction of Pinkerton. Most of this material was eventually deleted as Puccini, over several revivals, continued to revise the score into its familiar form.

Luis Ledesma (U.S. Consul Sharpless) Baritone (Philadelphia, PA)

Recent: Dvorak’s Te Deum, Carnegie Hall; Augustino, El pasado nunca se termina, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera; Marcello, La bohème, Palm Beach Opera; Escamillo, Carmen, Ópera de Bellas Artes, Mexico; Alfio/Tonio, Cavalleria rusticana, Hungarian State Opera

Madama Butterfly’s notoriously disastrous premiere at La Scala on February 17, 1904, places the opera in the same company as other first-night fiascos that became beloved staples (The Barber of Seville and La traviata): “a real lynching,” as the composer plaintively put it.

Maria Kanyova (Cio-Cio-San) Soprano (St. Louis, MO)

But his confidence was unshaken. A revised version of Madama Butterfly, including Pinkerton’s added aria and some cuts to the first-act caricatures, was a total triumph when it was unveiled at Brescia a mere three months later. Several more revisions followed — including changes to the portrayal of Kate Pinkerton — until the standard version appeared in 1907. —Thomas May 18

Tenor (Memphis, TN)

OPERA San Antonio

Recent: Blanche Dubois, A Streetcar Named Desire, Kentucky Opera; Pat Nixon, Nixon in China, San Francisco Opera; Gretel, Hänsel und Gretel, Lyric Opera of Chicago; Miriam, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, San Francisco Opera; Madama Butterfly, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Madison Opera, New Orleans Opera, Tulsa Opera, Central City Opera; Violetta, La traviata, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera; Mimì, La bohème, New York City Opera (opposite Rolando Villazón and telecast on PBS); Donna Anna, Don Giovanni, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Glimmerglass Opera; Marie Antoinette, The Ghosts of Versailles, Wexford Festival, Opera Theatre of St. Louis Upcoming: Leonora, Il trovatore, Winter Opera Theatre; title role, Suor Angelica, Opera Santa Barbara w w w. o p e ra s a . o r g 19

Ron Ulen (Imperial Commissioner)

Creative Team

Recent: Conte di Luna Il Trovatore, Spotlight on Opera; Tonio, Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Rigoletto, Louisiana Opera; Baritone Soloist, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony; Mozart Mass in C, Beijing; Mussorgsky - Songs and Dances of Death Upcoming: Scarpia, Tosca, Los Angeles Opera; Abbot, Britten’s Curlew River, Austin, San Antonio, Houston; Recitals, San Marcos, London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Milan

Sebastian Lang-Lessing

Baritone (San Marcos, TX)

Chiawei Lee (The Registrar) Baritone (San Antonio, TX)

Recent: Tonio, I pagliacci; Alfio, Cavalleria rusticana, South Texas Lyric Opera; Falke, Die Fledemaus, Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra; Danilo, Die Lustige Witwe, National Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan); title role, Don Giovanni, Taipei Symphony Orchestra; Scarpia, Tosca; Ford, Falstaff, Martina Arroyo Prelude to Performance Upcoming: Ferryman, Curlew River

Matthew Arnold (The Bonze/Prince Yamadori) Bass-Baritone (Covington, GA)

Recent: Escamillo, Carmen, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera; Lord Sidney, Il viaggio a Reims, Chicago Opera Theater; Il Bonzo, Madama Butterfly, Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Colline, La bohème, Michigan Opera Theater; Mandarin, Turandot, Austin Lyric Opera; Le Duc, Roméo et Juliette, San Antonio Opera; bass soloist, Verdi, Requiem, Brazos Valley Symphony

Conductor (Gelsenkirchen, Germany) Music Director, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. Previous posts: Resident Conductor, Hamburg State Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin; Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Opera National de Lorraine, Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy, and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Recent: Der Rosenkavalier, Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts; Salome, San OPERA Antonio; Die Tote Stadt, Dallas Opera; Rienzi, Deutsche Oper Berlin; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Hamburg Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de Paris; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France Upcoming: Der fliegende Holländer, Seattle Opera

Stephen Dubberly

Chorus Master (Denton, TX) Recent: conductor, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute, Opera Breve; conductor, The Tales of Hoffmann and The Merry Widow, University of North Texas; conductor, Frontiers Festival, Fort Worth Opera; associate conductor and chorus master, Hamlet and La traviata, Fort Worth Opera Upcoming: conductor, Don Giovanni and The Mother of Us All, University of North Texas; associate conductor and chorus master, JFK and The Barber of Seville, Fort Worth Opera

Garnett Bruce

Director (Washington, D.C.)

Jacob Aiden Kania (“Trouble,” Cio-Cio-San’s child)

Recent: Tosca, Lyric Opera of Kanas City; Turandot, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, Michigan Opera Theater; Madama Butterfly, Utah Opera; Don Carlo, Austin Lyric Opera; Carmen, Utah Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Teater Hedeland (Denmark); The Barber of Seville, Indiana University, Aspen Music Festival & School; Candide, Baltimore Symphony; Aida, The Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera Upcoming: La Périchole, University of South Carolina; Aida, Utah Opera; The Ghost Train, Peabody Conservatory; The Magic Flute, Michigan Opera Theater

Actor (Dundee, IL)

Jacob makes his stage debut as Trouble.

Orit Eylon (Kate Pinkerton)

Mezzo-soprano (San Antonio, TX) Recent: First Witch, Dido and Aeneas, Opera Piccola; Dorabella, excerpts from Così fan tutte, South Texas Mozart Festival; mezzo soloist, Verdi’s Requiem, El Paso Symphony; Kate Pinkerton, Madama Butterfly, and Third Lady, The Magic Flute, El Paso Opera Upcoming: Lecture Recital: “Liszt, in Love and Lust,” South Texas Chapter NATS Fall Conference; solo voice recitals in San Antonio and West Texas 20

OPERA San Antonio

Conor Hanratty

Assistant Director (Dublin, Ireland) Recent: Trouble in Tahiti, Glimmerglass Festival; Trial by Jury, Wexford Festival; Maria de Buenos Aires, Cork Opera House. As Assistant Director: Madama Butterfly, Candide, Glimmerglass Opera; Silent Night, Cristina Queen of Sweden, Wexford Festival; Nixon in China, Wide Open Opera Upcoming: Tirso e Clori, Northern Ireland Opera, Royal Irish Academy of Music w w w. o p e ra s a . o r g


Alan Burrett

Lighting Designer (London, UK) Recent: Tristan and Isolde, The Dallas Opera; Fidelio, Seattle Opera; Madama Butterfly, The Glimmerglass Festival; Simon Boccanegra, Opera of Rome; Xerxes, Vienna State Opera; Billy Budd, Los Angeles Opera; La traviata, Los Angeles Opera; Head of lighting design program at University of California, San Diego

Stephanie Williams

Wig and Make-Up Designer (New Braunfels, TX) Recent​: Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, Don Giovanni, Ainadamar, Opera Philadelphia, (Key Makeup Artist); Il segreto di Susanna/La voix humaine, Salome, Fantastic Mr. Fox, OPERA San Antonio (Designer/Dept. Head); Fidelio, Carmen, The Impresario/ Le Rossignol, Dr. Sun Yatsen, Don Pasquale, Santa Fe Opera (Assistant Dept. Head) Upcoming: The Elixir of Love, Opera Philadelphia

W here

R ivers


Where Rivers Meet is a performance and education project that culminates in a world première: a triple bill of the Japanese noh play Sumida River; Song of the Yanaguana River, by 2015 Poet Laureate of Texas Carmen Tafolla; and Benjamin Britten’s one-act opera Curlew River.

Before the Performances Exhibit

Through November 8, Marie Swartz Art Resource Center, Central Library, San Antonio Arts of Noh: An Exhibit for “Where Rivers Meet”


September 3 (Thursday), 6:30 p.m., Chiego Lecture Hall, McNay Art Museum Operatic Japan: From Noh Theater to Madama Butterfly (with Dr. Kevin Salfen and Jubilith Moore), cosponsored by Opera San Antonio

Film Series: Water Masks, Water Songs

September 29 (Tuesday), 6:15-8:45 p.m. Central Library, San Antonio A River Runs through It; introductory talk by Dr. Jeff Crane (UIW) October 4 (Sunday), 2-5 p.m. Prassel Auditorium, Witte Museum The Unforeseen; panel discussion moderated by Dr. Jeff Crane (UIW), cosponsored by Green Spaces Alliance October 23 (Friday), 5:00-7:30 p.m. UC Auditorium, UTSA Night Mail and Beau travail (double feature); introductory talk by Dr. Kevin Salfen (UIW); cosponsored by Opera San Antonio October 24 (Saturday), 3:00 p.m. DoSeum Ponyo; associated interactive events for children and parents led by Jubilith Moore and master mask-maker Hideta Kitazawa, cosponsored by St. Luke’s School October 25 (Sunday), 2-5 p.m. Auditorium, LRTF Building, San Antonio College The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail and Late Spring, (double feature); introductory talk by Dr. Linda Ehrlich (Case Western Reserve University) October 30 (Friday), 6:00-9:30 p.m. Rosenberg Sky Room, UIW The River; dinner, guest lecture by Dr. Linda Ehrlich (Reservations required; please visit our website), cosponsored by Asian Studies, UIW

October 29-November 1: Where Rivers Meet Symposium (UIW)

October 29 (Thursday), 7:30 p.m. Concert hosted by Composers Alliance of San Antonio

For full symposium schedule, including sessions on the making of Song of the Yanaguana River with Carmen Tafolla and costume designer Margaret Mitchell, visit the UIW website.

The Performances

•November 3 (Tuesday) •November 5 (Thursday) •November 6 (Friday) •November 8 (Sunday)

7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m.

Dougherty Arts Center, Austin University of the Incarnate Word St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Asia Society Texas Center, Houston

For tickets and a full schedule of educational events leading up to performances, please visit our website: http://www.uiw.edu/music/whereriversmeet.html


OPERA San Antonio

This fall in South Texas, three rivers converge. . .

Sumida River the classic Japanese noh play performed in English

Song of the Yanaguana River new interlude by Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla

Curlew River Benjamin Britten’s one-act opera on loss and redemption

November 3, 2015, 7:30 p.m. Dougherty Arts Center, Austin November 5, 2015, 7:30 p.m. Univ. of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio

Wh ere

Riv ers

M eet

November 6, 2015, 7:30 p.m. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio November 8, 2015, 3:00 p.m. Asia Society Texas Center, Houston

For tickets and a full schedule of educational events leading up to performances, please visit our website: http://www.uiw.edu/music/whereriversmeet.html

w w w. o p e ra s a . o r g


OPERA San Antonio Staff Opera San Antonio Staff Chairman and General Manager Mel Weingart Director of Administration and Education Rhanda Luna Assistant to the Director of Administration and Education Administrative Intern, Trinity University Lydia Benedict Administrative Assistant Cecille Martinez Finance Assistant Laurel Watts Production and Administrative Assistant Lilly Canaria

OPERA San Antonio is supported by The City of San Antonio’s Department for Culture and Creative Development


OPERA San Antonio | 417 8th Street | San Antonio, Texas 78215 | (210) 673-7270

OPERA San Antonio