OPERA San Antonio‘s production of Madama Butterfly opens tonight, Thursday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m., at the Tobin Center, with another performance on Saturday, October 3 at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online or walk up to the Tobin Center box office.
Earlier this week, OPERA San Antonio opened a dress rehearsal to a group of social media types, including me, fellow bloggers including Marissa from Modern Tejana and Stephanie from Puro Pinche, and a group of elite Yelp! reviewers who brought their infectious enthusiasm and quick-trigger Twitter fingers. We sat in box seats and looked out over the theater. Even though it was only a rehearsal, the performance was breathtaking.
Opera is an art form that combines theater and music. This production is using costumes borrowed from the San Diego Opera and sets borrowed from the Glimmerglass Festival. These theatrical elements bring the tragic story to life: Japan, circa 1900, an American naval officer marries a young Japanese girl—Butterfly—intending to break it off and marry an American, but to Butterfly it’s true love. Traditional Japanese kimono and hakama contrast with naval dress whites; a modernized office contrasts with elements of Japanese temple and domestic architecture.
The music is supplied by the San Antonio Symphony under the direction of Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Giacomo Puccini’s music demands a large orchestra, but there is ample room in the Tobin’s pit. The opera is sung in Italian, but the audience can follow along by reading the supertitles: one or two lines of English text projected on a short, wide screen above the stage, synchronized with the songs.
There is no strict dress code for attending an opera. You can dress up if you want, in a formal or eclectic way, or just go casual. Tonight, there is a pre-concert lecture by Dr. Kay Lipton at 6:30 p.m. in the East Rotunda of the Tobin Center, for ticket holders only.
Looking forward: Madama Butterfly is the only fully-staged production in OPERA San Antonio’s 2015-16 season, but the San Antonio Symphony will present a concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore on Thursday, March 31 and Saturday, April 2, 2016, at the Tobin Center. Also, Opera Piccola has two more productions in its 2015-16 season. Looking back: Here is an earlier post about the about Fantastic Mr. Fox, OPERA San Antonio’s first production.
All photos featuring cast members are courtesy Karen Almond for OPERA San Antonio.