Music Artes' "Madame Butterfly" June 22-23, 2012

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"Madame Butterfly" at Cultural Center of the Philippines June 22-23, 2012
By Walter Ang

An entire generation of Filipinos grew up to the music of "Miss Saigon" after Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson were chosen to portray the titular character Kim in London's West End.

Now audiences will have a chance to watch the opera on which the musical is based in a staging by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in a coproduction with Music Artes production company.

Madame Butterfly, composed by Giacomo Puccini and libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, is the story of young Japanese Ciocio-san and her marriage to and betrayal by US naval officer B. F. Pinkerton.

The production will be staged in Italian with English supertitles.

International singer Japanese soprano Mako Nishimoto portrays Ciocio with Mexican tenor Dante Alcalá as Pinkerton.

Nishimoto grew up in Shizuoka prefecture near Mt. Fuji and attended Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo.

Recent performances include Giorgetta in "Il Tabarro" and Michaera in "Carmen" for the Shinjuku City Opera and Adina in "L'Elisir d'amore" for the Suginami City Opera.

This is Nishimoto's first time to perform in the Philippines.  She's performed in the UK, Canada, USA, South America, and in Europe.

For this role, she reviewed Japanese traditional culture, "including how to dance and sit down while wearing a kimono in the tatami matted house and so on."

"[Before each performance,] to concentrate, I don't use my telephone or the internet," she says. "I face my inner self and convince myself that I can surely do it."

Cast and collaborators
Filipinos soprano Camille Lopez Molina portrays Suzuki (Ciocio's handmaid) and baritone Andrew Fernando plays Sharpless (US consul and friend of Pinkerton).

Francisco Feliciano is music director with Singaporean Maestro Lim Yau conducting the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and direction by Anton Juan.  Lighting design is by John Batalla and video design by Pat Valera. 

Set and costume design is by Leeroy New, who builds on Juan's directorial concept of "melding the past and present" by designing a set in that attempts to "reconcile the classical piece with the seemingly 'dark' aesthetics associated with Butoh and references to the devastation of the Hiroshima bombing."

"Madam Butterfly" runs June 22-23 at Tanghalang Nicano Abelardo, CCP, Pasay City.  Contact CCP Box Office 832-3704, Music Artes 895-8098 and 0918-908-5088, and Ticketworld 891-9999.

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