We are delighted to invite you to join us to see this gorgeous and emotional production of Puccini’s celebrated Madam Butterfly starring the meteoric Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw, who wins acclaim from audiences and critics alike wherever she performs. This will be an unmissable occasion. Only 12 performances are scheduled, and the opera house will be sold out—so we have secured Orchestra Stalls tickets to make sure our opera-loving Members do not miss this chance to see Romaniw premiere in this sumptuous production. The date is Thursday, March 5, and we shall open the evening in fitting style with a celebratory Three-Course Champagne Dinner at the glittering Savoy Hotel.
Anthony Minghella’s inspirationally beautiful production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly is the ENO’s signature production is the perfect vehicle for this superstar in the making. It is considered one of the most beautifully designed and directed works in opera, with its cherry blossoms, Japanese puppetry and dance, and and this revival is sure to be a sell-out visual feast as well as a showcase of Romaniw’s breathtaking talent.
The role of the Japanese geisha is one of the most beautiful and complete portraits of a woman in opera, and one of the most moving—and Natalya Romaniw is one of Europe’s most promising young stars. Winner of countless awards for her ‘big toned, generous, gut-wrenching performances’ (Sunday Times) and her ‘glowing voice capable of astonishing power’ (FT), she is hailed as ‘the outstanding soprano of her generation’ by the influential Telegraph opera critic Rupert Christiansen and others.
Writes Opera Now: ‘She is one of those singers who can just stand and sing with huge effect: the concentrated essence of character she brings is a rare thing, and allied to a voice of some power and great depth of expression and colours, she is a major operatic phenomenon.’ Bachtrack call her voice ‘utterly bewitching’; and The Times opera critic adds, ‘A star is born . . . Make no mistake, Romaniw is a soprano in a thousand.’
Romaniw leads a superb cast—the handsome American Metropolitan Opera baritone Dimitri Pittas—named ‘one of the most exciting artists of the next generation’—as Pinkerton, the excellent British baritone Roderick Williams as Sharpless, British mezzo soprano Stephanie Windsor-Lewis as Suzuki and Njabulo Madlala as Prince Yamadori, who are set to bring some of Puccini’s most radiant and overwhelming music to glorious life.
This most ravishing of operas features such lyrical passages as Cio Cio San’s first entrance, Pinkerton’s seduction of her, the famous Humming chorus, and of course Butterfly’s ‘One fine day’. To see this outstanding soprano in Puccini’s most powerful opera of agony and ecstasy, love and loss, will be stunning—particularly in this original and extraordinary production.
In it, the film director Minghella combined a breathtaking mix of imagery and traditional Japanese theatre—a riot of colourful costumes, gorgeous sets, and unforgettable use of puppetry. This, his only opera production, delivers a rich, gorgeous tableaux.
The full orchestra of the English National Opera, the largest of its kind in Europe with some 60 musicians, will perform, led by the illustrious conductor Martyn Brabbins. This will be a magnificent performance, made even more memorable by a three-course Champagne Dinner in the famously stylish Kaspar’s Restaurant at The Savoy Hotel (see facing panel)—a treat in itself.