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VIRGINIA OPERA PERFORMS THE HEARTBREAKER Madame Butterfly

October 3, 2003
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS PRESENTS VIRGINIA OPERA
GIACOMO PUCCINI’S MADAME BUTTERFLY
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica from the drama by David Belasco
Performed in Italian with English Digitext SuperTitles
Featuring
-The Virginia Opera debut of soprano Guiping Deng as Butterfly and return of tenor Thomas Rolf Truhitte as Pinkerton
-Richmond Symphony Orchestra members in the pit
Friday, October 24, 8PM & Sunday, October 26, 2PM


Fairfax, Virginia, September 29, 2003—Virginia Opera returns with its stunning and emotional production of Puccini’s heartbreaking masterpiece Madame Butterfly, Friday, October 24 and Sunday October 26 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax. This beloved opera transports audiences to 19th century Nagasaki – as tragedy ensues when an American Navy officer takes a 15-year old Japanese girl as his bride – and love and deceit collide.
This production features the Virginia Opera debuts of stage director James Marvel, and of soprano Guiping Deng as Butterfly. Ms. Deng has performed the title role numerous times with such companies as Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera Center and Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Thomas Rolf Truhitte is returning to Virginia Opera in the role of Pinkerton, after garnering high praise as Siegmund ("…he sings with power, conviction, musicianship…" – Tim Page in The Washington Post) in last season’s sellout performances of Die Walküre. Singing the role of Sharpless, is baritone Andrew Krikawa last seen in Virginia Opera’s A Christmas Carol: the Opera. Virginia Opera last produced Madame Butterfly in 1997.

There are few that don’t know the tale of the star-crossed lovers, Cio-cio san (Butterfly) and the dashing Lieutenant Pinkerton.
When United States Navy Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton leases a house in Nagasaki Harbor it is complete with a geisha wife known as Madame Butterfly. Pinkerton takes the 999-year marriage contract lightly – after all it contains a monthly renewal option. But Butterfly is in it for life, even relinquishing her Buddhist faith. Inevitably, Pinkerton sails away. For years Butterfly waits, sure of her husband’s return. But when Pinkerton does return, it is with a new wife. The distraught Butterfly takes the same dagger with which her father ended his life and kills herself.

After seeing a production of Belasco’s "Madam Butterfly" in London, Giacomo Puccini knew he must use the play as a basis for an opera. He strove to give his work authentic local color, both dramatic and musical, even basing some of his themes on genuine Japanese music. Despite its authenticity, the first performance, at La Scala in February of 1904, was dimly received. However, revised and presented again four months later, the opera was a smash, heralding its future as one of the most beloved romances of all time.

THE MADAME BUTTERFLY ARTISTS
Conductor Peter Mark
Stage Director James Marvel*
Scenic Designer Wally Coberg
CostumesProperty of Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Cio-Cio-San Guiping Deng*
B.F. Pinkerton Thomas Rolf Truhitte
Suzuki Jae-Eun Paik*
Sharpless Andrew Krikawa
Goro Brett Colby*
Yamadori Arturo Chacón*

* Virginia Opera mainstage debut

Tickets for VIRGINIA OPERA’S MADAME BUTTERFLY are $78, $64, $42. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit the Center for the Arts at www.gmu.edu/cfa.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses fou academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.