Grand takeoff of ‘Madame Butterfly’ slated June 22-23 | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Giacomo Puccini’s immortal opera “Madame Butterfly” is the next opera the Cultural Center of the Philippines will mount this year, which it has declared as the Year of the Opera. It will be staged in partnership with MusicArtes Inc. at the CCP Main Theater in two gala nights on June 22-23.

In a recent press conference, CCP president Raul Sunico said the staging would be the second of the three productions to be mounted for 2012, in keeping with CCP’s avowed effort to keep opera alive in the country.

In her remarks, Josefina Tan, chair of MusicArtes Inc., said the foundation was honored to extend support to CCP. MusicArtes, she explained, seeks to promote classical music.

The cast is composed of international performing artists with Japanese soprano Mako Nishimoto in the title role as Cio-Cio San.

Mexican tenor Dante Alcala essays the role of BF Pinkerton. Filipino baritone Andrew Fernando and soprano Camille Lopez play Sharpless and Suzuki, respectively.

Singaporean conductor   Lim Yau will conduct the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anton Juan is the stage director. Francisco F. Feliciano is music director.

Jay Glorioso, president of MusicArtes Inc., said mounting the grand production would be a great challenge for Juan, a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame du Lac in the US and one of the Philippines’ top stage artists.

Supporting the cast are top Filipino singers John Gaerlan, Lemuel de la Cruz, Jonathan Velasco, Viva Voce; and graduates of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, University of the Philippines College of Music, and St. Scholastica’s College.

Talented young sculpture Leeroy New (whose body sculptures have been used by Lady Gaga) will execute the set and costumes; with lighting magician John Batalla creating the light and video design by emergent artist Pat Valera.

Juan likened the theme of the opera to the Tagalog expression “hanggang pier lang” (until the pier only), which refers to Filipino women who are left behind at the pier when their American or foreign paramours leave.

He said this theme had remained relevant, as “pure love is always cradled notwithstanding the pain of separation.”

“Madame Butterfly,” Juan explained, will be seen from the memory of a young boy some decades before the outbreak of the Pacific War and the bombing of Nagasaki. Both traditional and contemporary approaches will be employed, the opera being a story of ruptures and opposing cultural orientations.

But the pain caused by such ruptures and oppositions is transformed by Puccini’s “beautiful and sublime music at the end, rising like a butterfly that emerges from its cocoon with a new pair of wings,” said Juan.

During the press conference at the CCP, young singer Fame Flores rendered “Madame Butterfly”’s famous aria “Un Bel di Vedremo.” Tenor Ivan Neri, also a young vocal talent, sang Pinkerton’s aria “Addio Fiorito Asil.” Both are understudies for the main soprano and tenor.

Camille Lopez joined them in the farewell trio “Lo So Che Sue Dolore.” Karren Francisco was the collaborating pianist.

Sponsoring the gala performances are Toyota Motor Corp. Philippines, New World Hotel, Smart Communications, Belo Medical Clinic, Diamond Hotel, Star Paper, Pioneer Insurance, Del Monte Philippines, Café de Bonifacio,  Unilab Philippines.

Call CCP Box Office at 8323704; MusicArtes at 8958098, 9085088.

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