Madama Butterfly

The sensational new production directed by Damiano Michieletto

Teatro Regio, Wednesday 10 November 2010 at 8 pm

After the inaugural Boris Godunov, the Teatro Regio season continues with Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, to be performed beginning on Tuesday 10 November in a  new staging by the young Venetian director Damiano Michieletto. The Orchestra and Chorus of the  Teatro Regio will be conducted by maestro Pinchas Steinberg, revered by the Regio’s orchestra members with whom he has created a special feeling  over the years.

In the title role, the Chinese soprano Hui He «the best Butterfly you could wish for», as she was defined by the Wiener Zeitung after the intense and moving performance at the Volksoper in Vienna. Lieutenant Pinkerton, who breaks the young geisha’s heart, is the tenor from Torino Massimiliano Pisapia, perfectly at home in this role he has sung in the most prestigious opera houses and festivals in Italy and around the world. Completing the cast are:  baritone Simone Alberghini (Sharpless), mezzo-soprano Giovanna Lanza (Suzuki), tenor Gregory Bonfatti (Goro), baritone Paolo Maria Orecchia (Yamadori), bass Riccardo Ferrari (Cio-Cio-San’s uncle, the Bonze) and bass John Paul Huckle (the Imperial Commissioner). Chorus Master is Claudio Fenoglio.

With Madama Butterfly, the guidelines inspiring the new Regio season are reasserted. On the one hand, the commitment to guarantee audiences a high musical level with the choice, also in this case, of a prestigious conductor like Pinchas Steinberg, who will be presenting the original version of Butterfly at the Regio. On the other hand, the desire to participate actively in a cultural debate by offering new points of view on the contemporary scene. Thus, the task entrusted to an artist like Damiano Michieletto, creator of original and unsettling stagings which have often created discussion but at the same time have won recognition, as with the La gazza ladra, which won the 2007 Premio Abbiati for best direction. In Michieletto’s staging, as he himself explains: «the broken wings of Butterfly become a contemporary tragedy: the libretto tells us that Cio-Cio-San is a fifteen-year-old girl who, fallen into poverty, is sold by an intermediary to an unknown American, who obtains her hand in marriage for one hundred yen. It is not a marriage, but a purchase, and Cio-Cio-San is renamed by him with an American name: Butterfly. A little later, perhaps a month, that man abandons her to continue his travels and business. The story of Madame Butterfly is therefore based on what is termed sexual tourism today. This is the view that my interpretation of the opera hinges on». No concession, therefore, to exoticism, but rather the story of the pain that leads a woman exploited by society to suicide; the violence of the tragedy in a continuous dialogue with our contemporary world in order to relate clearly and directly its cruelty. In the middle of the stage – in order to respect and magnify the absolute centrality of the protagonist – a small room of plexiglass, the house-prison of Butterfly; it is here that reality and illusion clash, here that we find impulse and tenderness, faith and desperation, affection, regrets, dreams, indifference and cynicism. An astonishing staging that will go straight to the heart, Michieletto’s, who notes: «the desire to surprise is, in itself, a positive thing, surprise being one of the particular characteristics of opera».

Sets for Madama Butterfly are by Paolo Fantin, a long-time collaborator of Michieletto’s; costumes are by Carla Teti and lights by Marco Filibeck.

During the run of eleven performances, from 10 to 23 November, alternating in the title roles will be: Raffaella Angeletti (Cio-cio-san), Andrea Carè (Pinkerton), Domenico Balzani (Sharpless) and Damiana Pinti (Suzuki).

The production is realised with the support of a new and important Supporting Partner of the  Teatro Regio Foundation: Italdesign Giugiaro, which, with a new way of looking at partnership, besides sponsoring the production, is also participating in the staging of Madama Butterfly by providing a particular and exclusive stage feature. This is Structura, a fully-functioning automobile prototype, created to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Italdesign Giugiaro. A automobile concept realised exclusively in aluminium to highlight the technological structure and show off the design aspects that normally cannot be seen.

Madama Butterfly will be broadcast live by Rai-Radio3 on 10 November and the program of Rai Tre, Prima della Prima, on Tuesday 16 November at 1.40 am, will devote an episode to the new production.

Because of the great request of the public, an extra performance of Madama Butterfly has been added, on Friday 19 November at 8 pm. Tickets are now on sale.

Box Office of the Teatro Regio, piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242 - e-mail: -

Torino, 25 October 2010

Teatro Regio, Communication and Public Relations Department
Paola Giunti (Director), Sara Zago (Press Relations)
Telephone: +39 011 8815233 – 8815239–
piazza Castello 215 – 10124 Torino (Italia)