Giacomo Puccini’s tragic tale of the beautiful young Japanese woman who is loved and betrayed by an American Naval Officer at the dawn of the 20th century; classic elegance meets a timeless work. This traditional production and stunning music will bring to life both the clash of cultures and her ultimate sacrifice.
“Madama Butterfly is the role for me. Singing this role is more difficult than some of the other roles I feel. There is always a great challenge not only from the vocal technique but also from the character’s dramatic transformation and body movement.” – Shu-Ying Li
Sung in Italian with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat.
Ari Pelto’s appearance is sponsored by Dave and Pam Duke.
The 2014-2015 Season is sponsored by Ken and Donna Barrow.
Meet the Artists
Ari Pelto | Conductor
In May 2013, Opera Colorado appointed Ari Pelto as Artistic Advisor. Conductor Ari Pelto is in demand at elite opera houses, ballets, symphonies and conservatories throughout the United States. After his highly praised 2004 début at New York City Opera with Verdi’s La Traviata, Pelto was engaged as a regular guest there, returning for Madama Butterfly, Jennifer Griffith’s The Dream President, La bohème and Carmen. Recent highlights and upcoming opera house engagements include La bohème with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the St. Louis Symphony, The Cunning Little Vixen at Chautauqua, Rusalka and La bohème at Boston Lyric Opera, Romeo et Juliet at Minnesota Opera, The Magic Flute, Figaro and Hansel and Gretel at Portland Opera, as well as Carmen and Hansel and Gretel at Utah Opera. He has also been a regular guest conductor of the Atlanta Ballet. In 2012, he collaborated with Twyla Tharp on the premiere of her new ballet, The Princess and the Goblin. Pelto has conducted operas of Mozart and Stravinsky at the Curtis Institute of Music, Gluck and Mozart at the Juilliard School, Puccini and Massenet at San Francisco Conservatory, and Stephen Paulus and Raffaello de Banfield at the Manhattan School of Music. At the Oberlin Conservatory, he has led works of Mahler, Mozart and Poulenc, and at New York University, works of Sibelius, Brahms, Dvorak and Martinu. He has also conducted in Italy, Germany and Bulgaria. Pelto studied violin performance at Oberlin and conducting at Indiana University.
Keturah Stickann* | Director
Keturah Stickann has quickly established herself in the opera world as a critically acclaimed choreographer and exciting director. In 2014 she will direct Don Quichotte for the San Diego Opera and Don Giovanni for the Janiec Opera Company and Flight for Opera Fayetteville. Other highlights include Rigoletto for Opera Memphis, The Tales of Hoffman and Manon for Knoxville Opera, Don Pasquale for Opera in the Heights, La tragédie de Carmen for the Janiec Opera Company, Madama Butterfly for Opera Santa Barbara, and directing and choreographing The Pearl Fishers for the Sarasota Opera. As a choreographer, her work has been seen in opera houses around the world, most recently in collaboration with Leonard Foglia on Cruzar la Cara de la Luna for Houston Grand Opera, Le Théâtre du Châtelet and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is the Movement Director/Choreographer for Moby Dick since its premiere at the Dallas Opera, taking it to the Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and State Opera of South Australia.
Xiu Ying Li* | Cio-Cio San
“The Chinese soprano Shuying Li was convincing and vocally impressive as Cio-Cio San. She was sweet and timid at first, patient and hopeful throughout her husband’s long absence and finally distraught on learning the truth of his unfaithfulness. Her strong, clear expressive voice penetrated Puccini’s lush orchestration.” (NYCO, New York Times) In the space of a few seasons, Li has become the most sought after interpreter of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in North America. Since her 2001 professional debut in the role with Providence opera, she has sung Butterfly with New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and on their tour to Japan, Florida Grand Opera, Connecticut Opera, Baltimore Opera, Fresno Opera, Columbus Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Hawaii Opera Theater, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Portland Opera, Austin Lyric Opera and the Hong Kong Festival. In 2008 the City Opera’s production of Butterfly was telecast on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center and awarded an EMMY. In 2009-2010 she san Liu in Turandot for Opera Ottawa, Butterfly with El Paso Opera, Arizona Opera and Orlando Philharmonic and a recording of Butterfly with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano. In 2014 she will also sing Butterfly with Opera Ottawa. In 1998 she won the Fourth Budapest International Voice Competition. She is currently on the voice faculty at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Erica Brookhyser* | Suzuki
Erica Brookhyser is principal mezzo at Staatstheatre Darmstadt in Germany, following two seasons in LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton young artist programme. Her roles include Didon Les Troyens, Preziosilla La Forza del Destino, Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Fenena Nabucco, Orfeo Orfeo et Euridice, Second Lady Die Zauberflöte, Muse/Nicklausse Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Mahler’s Second Symphony, Emilia Otello, Flora La Traviata and Blumenmachen Parsifal. Recent successes include appearances at Spoleto Festival USA in El Niño by John Adams and Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum; Meg Page Falstaff at LA Opera, the title roles in Cendrillon and La Cenerentola; and Irene Tamerlano. She was selected to sing the title role Carmen at Berlin’s Seefestspiel during a nation-wide reality TV show, a role she also sang at Theatre Darmstadt. On the concert platform, she appeared in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Mozart’s C minor Mass with the Cincinnati May Festival under the baton of James Conlon and Moses und Aron with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine. Her 2014-15 season also includes her debut as Brigitte Die Tote Stadt at Odyssey Opera, Boston in concert.
Dinyar Vania* | B.F. Pinkerton
With a voice which combines both power and beauty, Dinyar Vania has earned critical acclaim portraying several of the most beloved roles in opera. His 2013-14 season includes his debuts with Minnesota Opera as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, with Lyric Opera Baltimore as Cavaradossi in Tosca and Virginia Opera as Don Jose in Carmen. He made his debut with Boston Lyric Opera in 2012-13 as Lieutenant Pinkerton, with Spoleto Festival USA as Roberto in Puccini’s Le Villi and several others. In 2011-12 he sang Rodolfo in La bohème with Dayton Opera, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Pensacola Opera and Ettore in the world premiere of Kimmo Hakola’s La Fenice with the Savolinna Festival. Recent highlights include Don José in Carmen in his debut with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Duke in Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids, Rodolfo in La bohème with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, a return to the roster of New York City Opera for L’elisir d’amore and soloist in an evening of opera arias with Seattle Symphony Orchestra among many others. Vania received Syracuse Opera’s Artist of the Year Award, First Place in the Giulio Gari Vocal Competition, Second Prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition and was a semi-finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia in Madrid, Spain.
John Hancock* | Sharpless
Acclaimed for his refined vocalism and theatrical versatility, baritone John Hancock made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Le Gendarme in Les Mamelles de Tirésias under the baton of James Levine. He has since appeared in a dozen roles with the company, including Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Albert in Werther, Brétigny in Manon, Capulet in Roméo et Juliette, and both Marcello and Schaunard in La bohème. At San Francisco Opera he has sung the roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Yeletsky in Queen of Spades and Lescaut in Manon Lescaut. His New York City Opera productions include Capriccio, Carmina Burana and Le Nozze di Figaro. He has also sung leading roles with Washington National Opera, New Israeli Opera, Opéra du Rhin, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Cincinnati Opera. A gifted interpreter of contemporary opera, Hancock has created leading roles in several world premieres. Of his performance in Pascal Dusapin’s Faustus, the New York Times wrote, “John Hancock was particularly strong in the title role, seizing every opportunity to soar.” Hancock is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, where he was winner of the Richard F. Gold Grant. He has also received grants and prizes from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Loren L. Zachary Society and the Sullivan Foundation.