Preview: Opera Circle Presents Puccini's Madama Butterfly


By Mike Telin

“Butterfly is one of the most popular and moving operas of all time, and it’s full of wonderful music,” conductor Grzegorz Nowak said during a recent telephone conversation. “I’m so happy to be able to join Opera Circle this week conducting an opera that is always an audience favorite as well as a favorite of the artists.”

On Saturday, June 13 at 7:30 pm in the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square, Opera Circle will present Puccini’s tragic love story, Madama Butterfly, under the direction of Maestro Nowak, who will be making his Opera Circle debut. The cast will include soprano Dorota Sobieska as Cio-Co San, mezzo-soprano Christina Carr as Suzuki, tenor Isaac Hurtado as B.F. Pinkerton, and baritone James Binion as Sharpless. The fully-staged production will be sung in Italian with English subtitles.

Madama Butterfly tells the story of B.F. Pinkerton, an American naval officer posted in Nagasaki, Japan, who in 1904 arranges with the marriage broker Goro to lease a house — along with a pretty young wife. Both deals may be cancelled on a month’s notice. The American consul, Sharpless, warns Pinkerton that the girl may not take such a casual view of this marriage. Pinkerton is unconcerned; for now he is entranced by the girl nicknamed Butterfly — but he drinks to the day he will wed “in real marriage a real American wife.” Read the full Opera Circle synopsis here.

What is it about the opera that audiences find so attractive? “Of course the wonderful music is one of the main reasons the opera is so popular,” Nowak pointed out. “But there is so much human tragedy in the story, which is something that moves everybody — it speaks directly to the heart. It’s a conflict between two different worlds, and the different perspectives from those worlds.” Read the complete preview on

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