sealPurdue News

February 20, 2003

Tragic opera "Madame Butterfly" comes to Elliott Hall

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The London City Opera will present Giacomo Puccini's tragic opera "Madame Butterfly" at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 9, in Elliott Hall of Music.

Admission is $30, $26, $18 and $8 for general public, and $19, $16, $14 and $8 for Purdue students and children K-12. Tickets can be purchased at Purdue box offices or charged by phone at (765) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW. Tickets also are available at all Ticketmaster outlets. "Madame Butterfly" is presented by Purdue Convocations.

"Madame Butterfly," composed by Puccini with a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, is different from many operas. It is relatively intimate, as operas go, taking place completely within a house in Nagasaki. There is one straight plot line, without subplots. And Pinkerton, a dashing officer in the U.S. Navy, is clearly a bit of a heel, infatuated with the young Butterfly, aware of her fragility, but "not content with life unless he makes his treasure the flowers on every shore."

"Madame Butterfly" originated in a story by John Luther Long and was adapted for the stage by David Belasco. The play premiered with great success in New York in 1900, then quickly crossed the Atlantic for a London production where it was seen by Puccini.

Puccini's first version of the opera failed at La Scala in 1904, but a revised version was successful the same year. That version is one of the most frequently produced operas in the entire repertory.

The traveling London City Opera has toured throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and North America. The aim of the company is to present touring opera and operetta productions of high musical and vocal standards and to prove that opera was composed as entertainment – entertainment which moves one to tears or makes one smile.

In 1998 the company made its European debut when it took "La Bohème" and "Madame Butterfly" on an extensive tour of France and Switzerland. In 1999 the London City Opera made a successful debut tour throughout North America, performing "Die Fledermaus" in 28 cities. The company appeared at Purdue last year in its production of "The Merry Widow." The London City Opera was recently featured in the magazine Opera Now.

For this production of "Madame Butterfly," Fabienne Borget will perform the role of Cio-Cio San. She was born in France and initially studied violin, later studying singing as a postgraduate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Fiona MacDonald, who will play Suzuki, was born in Scotland and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Royal Northern College of Music and with Barbara Pearson in Chicago.

Pinkerton will be played by Jim Heath, who was born in Surrey, England, and originally studied to be an electronics engineer before deciding to turn to opera. He has worked with Scottish Opera and Carl Rosa Opera, among other British opera companies, and also has recorded with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

This production features its own orchestra, led by conductor Peter Oberfrank, and will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.

CONTACT: Larry Sommers, Purdue Convocations, (765) 494-5045,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of Fabienne Borget as Cio-Cio San is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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