Washington National Opera presents Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at Kennedy Center

Washington National Opera concludes its’ 2016–2017 season with one of the most beloved operas in the repertory, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, May 6– 21, 2017 in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

The opera features dazzling sets and costumes by Japanese American production designer Jun Kaneko. This new-to-Washington production from Opera Omaha and San Francisco Opera is directed by Leslie Swackhamer and conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin. A special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance of Madame Butterfly is presented in the Opera House on Friday, May 19, 2017, and features current singers of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.

In Madame Butterfly, the sun rises on turn-of-the-century Nagasaki, Japan, where dashing American naval officer Pinkerton has chosen the delicate Cio-Cio-San to be his bride. A naïve young geisha on the verge of womanhood, the clearly smitten and fiercely loyal “Butterfly” dismisses warnings of the lieutenant’s ulterior motives. When betrayal inevitably strikes and Butterfly must endure both shame and sorrow, she  decides to take destiny into her own hands—leading to one of the most devastating and legendary final scenes in all of opera.

Madame Butterfly at Kennedy Center

Heading the cast are three extraordinary Butterflys: Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho,
who has sung this signature role in opera houses from London to Paris to Berlin and
beyond, makes her WNO debut with these performances; South Korean soprano SaeKyung
Rim, who has sung the role at the esteemed Vienna State Opera and throughout
Europe, makes her American debut with these performances; and Korean American
soprano Yunah Lee, noted for her portrayal of Cio-Cio-San across the country, sings the
role for one performance only on May 9.

The cast also include two rising-star tenors making their WNO debuts as Lt.
Pinkerton, Brian Jagde and Dimitri Pittas. Baritones Troy Cook and Trevor
Scheunemann (an alumnus of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program) share the
role of Sharpless, while Suzuki is sung by the gifted young mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi
in her WNO debut, and Goro is sung by the young tenor Ian McEuen.

Madame Butterfly opens on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Center Opera House and runs for 14 performances, including May 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, and 21. The Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance is Friday, May 19. The opera’s running time is approximately two hours and 40 minutes, including one intermission. The opera is performed in Italian with easy-to-follow projected English titles.

Tickets start at $25 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box
Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related
customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

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