Madama Butterfly

photo by Ken Howard






Madama Butterfly
Atlanta Opera
through November 13, 2022

Director Tomer Zvulun has brought the poor geisha girl back to town with the Atlanta Opera’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Puccini based this tragedy on a story that had been published some years before, and was also probably enamored of Romeo and Juliet.

It was not well received when it premiered at La Scala in Milan in 1904; but it was reworked several times and with good voices, sets, costumes and one of opera’s most beloved arias, Un bel di (One beautiful day) it became, and remains, one of the top standards.

The set recalls the one used 8 years ago and while there are few props, it comes off as not being at all static. The background of what is the house in the hills of Nagasaki in which Lt. Pinkerton and Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly) are to live is like a large 5-panel shoji screen. But when the center panels are moved aside there is a projection screen behind them onto which some terrific graphics are shown. Especially in the final scenes when Butterfly goes to spread flowers all over the house to welcome home her husband, and Pinkerton’s ship is in the harbor.

While Butterfly is one of those who believes that all will come out well in the end, that isn’t the case here. In the event that you do not recall the story, far be it from me to tell you how it develops. The story moves a bit slowly, even though this is a 2-act version and not the original 3 acts. And, Puccini probably would have given his right arm to have the special effects that help to move this one along.

Butterfly is sung by Yasko Sato, a young soprano who has worked in many opera companies around the world, and has a lovely voice. Gianluca Terranova plays Pinkerton, and the maid, Suzuki is sung by Nina Yoshida Nelson. The orchestra is under the baton of Timothy Myers amd it’s a really good production, enjoyed by all, even if not first-timers. They are presenting at Cobb Energy Center and more info, time and tickets are at