‘One fine day, we’ll meet again‘, sings Cio-Cio-San, longing for the return of her husband. US marine officer Pinkerton chose her, a young Japanese girl, to become his wife when he arrived in Nagasaki. For him, she renounced her family and her religion, and she gave birth to his son. But once Pinkerton’s ship returns to the port of Nagasaki, Cio-Cio-San’s hopes of a happy future together are shattered…
MADAMA BUTTERFLY is one of the most performed operas in the world. Puccini drew inspiration from traditional Japanese music for his adaptation of the short novella by John Luther Long and composed one of his most refined opera scores. His heroine Cio-Cio-San is a woman torn between two civilisations; caught between Eastern and Western culture, between tradition and modernisation.
Director Mario Gas sets his new interpretation of the opera on the stage of Madrid’s Teatro Real in a 1930’s film studio where they are working on a film adaptation of Puccini’s opera. Gas opens the opera’s plot up by adding a film crew, offering two interpretations simultaneously: the acting in front of the camera and the actual film.
Soprano Ermonela Jaho is no stranger to the audience at the Teatro Real and of THE OPERA PLATFORM. In 2015, she dazzled as Violetta Valéry in LA TRAVIATA and in 2016 in the role of Desdemona in OTELLO. Now, she returns to Madrid as Cio-Cio-San. Alongside Jaho, Jorge de León takes the role of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton. Marco Armiliato, a most experienced conductors of the Italian repertoire, will lead the orchestra of the Teatro Real through one of the most unforgettable scores ever written for the opera stage.
Baritone Dmitiri Hvorostovsky, who has been battling a brain tumor that forced a hiatus, surprised the 2017 Metropolitan Opera Gala audience with a performance of “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata" from Verdi's "Rigoletto."
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s best-loved opera, Eugene Onegin, is based on Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel of the same name. It provided Tchaikovsky with an opportunity to present everyday and authentic experiences on the stage, in contrast to the epic narratives that characterized much European opera of the time. After initial consternation that Tchaikovsky should set to music this pinnacle of Russian literature, Eugene Onegin quickly became a firm favourite with Russian audiences. Within a decade of its 1879 premiere it had been performed over one hundred times in St Petersburg.
Tchaikovsky’s deep sympathy for his heroine Tatyana is shown in the tenderness of her music. Her yearning string motif opens the opera and it gains full expression in her letter aria in Act I – one of the most intense solo scenes ever written for the soprano voice. In Kasper Holten’s production, the turbulence of Tatyana and Onegin’s youth is contrasted with the self-realization they gain in later life. The staging foregrounds the power of memory and the futile desire to rewrite the past.
Daniel Behle as Ferrando sings 'Un'aura amorosa' (The air of love) from Act I of Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, with Semyon Bychkov conducting the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, recorded live in October 2016. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/cosi
In 1775 Mozart received a commission to write the substitution aria “Voi avete un cor fedele,” K. 217, for an unknown soprano in an Italian comic opera troupe passing through Salzburg. The aria, which was inserted into Baldassare Galuppi’s comic opera Le nozze di Dorina, was undoubtedly better suited to the unknown soprano’s voice than the original one. In this aria we see an early manifestation of the opera buffa style years before Mozart composed his Italian comic opera masterpieces - Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. Cecilia Bartoli sings.
The priestess Norma leads her people in a prayer for piece. Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role in Bellini's masterpiece, with the Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Antonio Pappano, recorded September 2016. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/norma
Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece Norma had its premiere at La Scala, Milan, on Boxing Day 1831. After a muted initial response the opera quickly became popular, and is now a mainstay of the repertory. Norma is perhaps most acclaimed as a vehicle for the lead soprano, most famously now by such 20th-century greats as Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballé and Joan Sutherland. Indeed, Bellini provides some astonishing vocal fireworks for his title character – most famously ‘Casta diva’, Norma’s Act I hymn to the chaste moon, and Act II’s ‘Dormono entrambi’, as she contemplates the unthinkable act of killing her children. But the opera’s dramatic potency rests in its breathtaking ensembles, most strikingly in Norma’s duets with Pollione and Adalgisa, the Act I trio ‘Vanne, sì: mi lascia, indegno’ and the blistering Act II finale.
This new production of Norma was The Royal Opera’s first in nearly thirty years. Directing is Àlex Ollé, of the Catalan collective La Fura dels Baus, reunited with the creative team behind his acclaimed production of Oedipe. They give Norma a contemporary setting against a backdrop of a cruel civil war, and focus on the opera’s exploration of the conflict between an individual’s own desires and those of her society – and of religion as a force for unity and for destruction.