Madama Butterfly

The tragedy of Puccini in awesome construction created by Damiano Michieletto. Live at cinemas

Teatro Regio, Saturday 1st February 2014

After Verdi and Rossini, Madame Butterfly comes into play, presenting the third great protagonist of the Opera Season 2013-2014: Giacomo Puccini. Based on our musical heritage, the current season is presenting famous operatic titles to retrace all the main stages of the history of Italian opera, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.

On Saturday 1st, Tuesday 4th and Thursday 6th February, at 20:00, the Teatro Regio offers the emblematic Puccini's masterpiece, created by Damiano Michieletto for our Theatre in 2010. The recitation of 4th February, reflecting the innovative dramatic reading of the director, will be broadcast live in HD over cinemas in all the world and over eighty cinemas across the country as part of the program "The great 2013-2014 live season," and at the same time on Rai - Radio3. The opera will also be broadcast on the digital channel Rai5 on Thursday 13th February at 21:15 and on Sunday 16th February at 10:00.

The “Enfant prodige” of the Italian opera, Michieletto, in his early thirties and winner of the Abbiati Prize in 2007, suggest a re-reading of Madame Butterfly from a contemporary point of view. The exoticism in Madame Butterfly, at the time of its premiere at ‘La Scala’ in 1904, was represented by the kimono, the ‘sensu’ (the typical Japanese fan) and the sumptuous obi. Today, in the era of globalization, these items are not symbols of a far off land, but mere objects that have lost their deeper meaning and origin. From these reflections Michieletto could recreate the opera, covering Butterfly with new symbols.

"The broken wings of Butterfly - says the director - become a contemporary tragedy: the book tells us that Cio-Cio-San is a fifteen-year-old girl who, falling into poverty is sold as a bride-to-be for one hundred yen, by a dealer to an American stranger. It is not a marriage: it is a buy and sell and Cio-Cio-San is renamed by the man with an American name: Butterfly. After a short time, perhaps a month, the man leaves to continue his travels and his business. The story of Madame Butterfly is therefore based on a story of what is now called sex tourism. This is the vision on which I have focused my reading of this opera."

The director faithfully complies with this “tale of pain”, of tragedy and violence; the only change is the way that Puccini’s message is conveyed to the public today. And, for this reason, at centre stage, a small Plexiglas room will be created, to respect and amplify the absolute centrality of the protagonist, representing the prison-house of Butterfly, the perfect showcase to collect a rare specimen of butterfly. From that showcase and through the dialogues with the outside we can observe what emerges: a clash between reality and illusion.

The stage direction of the production, with scenes by Paolo Fantin – a long time collaborator of Michieletto – costumes by Carla Teti and lights by Marco Filibeck, will be revived by Roberto Pizzuto.

Amarilli Nizza plays Madame Butterfly (Cio-cio-san). The soprano has made of the fragile Japanese protagonist the emblem of her art which is admired internationally. Thanks to these qualities she has been awarded the 42nd Puccini Prize, on 22nd December, 2013, awarded annually by the Puccini Festival Foundation.

The tenor, Massimiliano Pisapia, is Pinkerton, a role with which he began his long career and with which he has won many awards in major opera houses. The cast is rounded by the baritone Alberto Mastromarino (Sharpless), the mezzo-soprano Giovanna Lanza (Suzuki), the tenor Luca Casalin (Goro), the baritone Donato Di Gioia (Yamadori), the bass Seung Pil Choi (Bonze, Cio-cio-san’s uncle) and the baritone Ryan Milstead (the imperial Commissioner), the mezzosoprano Daniela Valdenassi (Cio-Cio-San’ mother, Kate Pinkerton), the bass/baritone Marco Tognozzi (Register Oficial), the baritone, Lorenzo Battagion (Yakusidé) and the sopranos Laura Lanfranchi (cousin) and Rita La Vecchia (aunt).

The Orchestra of the Teatro Regio is conducted by Pinchas Steinberg, an expert of the rich and complex language of Puccini’s music, who is able to create the right balance between evidence and gentle expressive sounds. The Chorus of the Teatro Regio is coached by Claudio Fenoglio. The public will also have the opportunity to listen to the Israeli conductor in the subsequent production of Turandot, as well as in the program of concerts, at the Teatro Regio on 19th February with music by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.

As usual, you can follow the backstage and discover some of the most entertaining curiosity about interpreters and fittings, by going to or our channel and check “Sketches of Passion” by Paola Giunti.

Teatro Regio Box Office: Piazza Castello 215 - Tel 011.8815.241/242. E-mail: - For more information: 011.8815.557.

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Turin 13th January 2014


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Paola Giunti (Director), Paolo Cascio (Media Relation)
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