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Press release, July 5, 2010

Savonlinna Opera Festival:

Season’s premiere of moving Madama Butterfly

Madama Butterfly got an enthusiastic reception from the dress rehearsal audience. A highly popular production last season, it now returns to Olavinlinna Castle more harmonious and intensive than ever. The story of a US officer and a Japanese geisha is not lacking in love and heartbreak, and Inna Los is simply perfect for the part, giving it even greater tenderness and vulnerability. Alternating as Butterfly is Japanese Mina Yamazaki. Puccini’s account of the fatal consequences of a clash between two cultures is transformed to the present day. The experiences of the stage director, stage and costume designers – descendants of Asian families brought up in the United States – of Asian and American culture have left a strong mark on this opera. The magnificent costumes, sets, colours and lighting create an illusion of a timeless, romantic Japan.

Nowhere, according to stage director Henry Akina, does Madama Butterfly have such a big family as in Savonlinna: attending her wedding to Pinkerton are 64 relatives of Cio-Cio-San – all the members of the Savonlinna Opera Festival Choir apart from the basses. The internationally-acclaimed Massimo Zanetti previously conducted the performances of Verdi’s Nabucco during the visit by the Bologna Opera in summer 2006. Alternating as Pinkerton are Giuseppe Varano, who sang Macduff in the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s guest production of Macbeth in Beijing in October 2009, and Andrea Caré, a former pupil of Luciano Pavarotti. Taking the part of Suzuki is Cynthia Hanna from the United States and of Sharpless Mikael Babajanyan, who made his Savonlinna Opera Festival debut in 2008 as Amonasro in Aida.

Premiere of Madama Butterfly in Olavinlinna Castle at 19.00 on July 5, 2010. Accreditation for Opera Festival performances at www.operafestival.fi. Further details from the PR and Press Office at Olavinkatu 27, 57100 Savonlinna: 2nd floor, Mon-Sat 9-17, Sun 10-15, tel. +358 15 4767529, press@operafestival.fi.