Published: 20/03/2014 15:13 - Updated: 24/04/2014 12:20

Madame Butterfly a great place to begin for opera newbies

SCOTTISH Opera brings one of the world’s most popular operas to Scotland this spring as Puccini’s Madama Butterfly opens in Edinburgh before going on to perform in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Belfast, before returning to Glasgow in July to perform in the city during the Commonwealth Games.

It also makes a perfect introduction to the world of opera for first timers, reckons Elaine Kidd, who is directing this revival of Sir David McVicar’s production originally seen in 2000.

"Madama Butterfly has been a hugely popular opera for many, many years — this is a great place to start for first-timers, but of course it is also a real favourite of regular opera-goers," she said.

Set at the turn of the 20th Century, Madama Butterfly is thought to be based on a true story and depicts the surprisingly common practice of American servicemen taking temporary wives in Japan, before returning to the United States alone.

After the reckless Lieutenant Pinkerton and Nagasaki girl Cio-Cio San — known as Butterfly — are married, Pinkerton soon returns to his native America. When he comes back to Japan three years later, Butterfly still patiently awaits him, but only betrayal and heartbreak lie ahead of her.

Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee, one of The Independent on Sunday’s "Faces to Watch" for 2013, and Anne Sophie Duprels share the role of Butterfly and José Ferrero is Pinkerton.

Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Andrew McTaggart sings the role of Prince Yamadori. Christopher Purves and Marcin Bronikowski share the role of Sharpless. Italian Marco Guidarini conducts The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

The Company is currently auditioning for three young boys to share the role of Sorrow, Butterfly’s son.

"The production is a real classic, with exquisite period detail in the costumes," Kidd continued.

With two Butterflies sharing the lead role who can act as sensitively as they sing, it will have the power to cut to the core.

"I’m particularly thrilled that Italian conductor Marco Guidarini is returning to work with us because he is steeped in this passionate, dramatic and lyrical music."

• Madame Butterful can be seen at Eden Court, Inverness, on Thursday 5th and Saturday 7th June, and His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, on Thursday 12th and Saturday 14th June.

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