BROOKLYN BUZZ: “Madama Butterfly” returns to Regina Opera

November 18, 2011 Heather Chin
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Over the next two weekends, Brooklynites will be treated to thereturn of a classic: Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, whichwill combine the heartbreaking story and music with new scenery anda slightly different concept presented by the cast and crew of theRegina Opera Company.

The opera, which debuted in February, 1904, in Milan, Italy, isgracing the Regina stage for the eighth or ninth time in partbecause, The audience really loves this opera, said producerFrancine Garber.

The music is fabulous, the story is touching and timeless,Garber explained. Any time there is military stationed in aforeign country, there is a lot of interaction. In World War II,there were a lot of war brides, so it’s a timeless and touchingstory. The singers really can express themselves fully in Puccini’smusic.

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That music includes the famous Amore o grillo, Un bel d andTu? Tu? Tu?, each of which is featured in one of the three acts.Maestro Scott Jackson Wiley will be conducting a full 35-pieceorchestra for the production, which is staged by Linda Lehr. Songswill be sung in Italian with English super-titles projected abovethe stage.

The role of Cio-Cio-San, the vulnerable teenaged geisha who ismarried and abandoned by her American sailor husband, will beportrayed by sopranos Christina Rohm and Lara Tillotson. Thehusband, Lieutenant Pinkerton, will be portrayed by tenors MichaelBoley and Deryl Godshall. Mezzo-sopranos Shannon Arias and RachelBinaco will sing as Suzuki, Butterfly’s faithful servant, andbaritones Jay Gould and Ricardo Rosas will portray Sharpless, theAmerican consul to Japan.

At the same time, Madama Butterfly fans will find somethingnew to appeal.

In Japanese theatre, there are frequently people – calledkuroko – dressed in black who handle stage properties and movethings along without being seen. They help the action progress,explained Garber. We have done it previously, but [here] they aremuch more active.

Regina Opera’s latest Madama Butterfly can be seen and heardat Regina Hall at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, November 19, 20,26 and 27.

Tickets for Madama Butterfly can be purchased at the door ofRegina Hall, 1210 65th Street, an hour before showtime. It isadvised that you arrive early as the line tends to get long.Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and students,$5 for teenagers and free for children. For more information, call718-259-2772 or email [email protected]. Groups of 15 or morecan register to buy tickets in advance.

The Regina Opera Company is marking the start of its 42ndseason. It was founded in 1970 as a postage-stamp sized stage in achurch youth center by opera-loving neighbors Marie Cantoni andNicholas Tierno, who were members of the Regina Pacis parish, sothat Tierno’s brother would have somewhere to sing as a tenor. Itdrew on support and singers from local church choirs, performing insmall recitals before expanding to full operas.

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