The Royal Opera House has announced that it will commence its 2022/23 Cinema Season with Madama Butterfly, broadcast live on Tuesday 27 September 2022 to over 850 cinemas in 26 countries around the world.
Local cinemas taking part include Vue at Birkenhead and Cheshire Oaks, The Light at New Brighton, and the Odeon at Bromborough.
Madama Butterfly has been performed by The Royal Opera over 420 times, making it the ninth most performed work in the Company’s repertoire. From its first outing at Covent Garden in 1905, a year after its premiere at La Scala in Milan, Puccini’s enduring tale has captivated audiences.
With a score that includes some of the most heartbreaking music its composer ever wrote – from Butterfly’s famous aria, ‘Un bel dì, vedremo’ (‘One fine day’) to the ‘Humming Chorus’ – the work remains one of the most popular Italian operas today.
For this revival, The Royal Opera embarked on a year-long consultation, listening to new voices to work towards a staging both true to the spirit of the original and more authentic in its representation of Japan.
Involving staff at the Royal Opera House, academics, practitioners, performers and Asian representatives, the conversations inspired discrete but important changes to several aspects of the existing work, including makeup, wigs and costume, and movement.
The production, which was accompanied by an exhibition contextualising the complicated history and context of the piece, opened to acclaim in July 2022.
This live cinema relay stars a truly international cast: acclaimed Italian soprano Maria Agresta as Cio-Cio-San; American tenor Joshua Guerrero as Lieutenant B.F Pinkerton; Spanish Baritone Carlos Álvarez as Sharpless; and English mezzo-soprano Christine Rice as Suzuki. It is conducted by Nicola Luisotti.
Our cinema programme has brought opera and ballet to audiences across the globe since 2008. Over 2022/23, an astonishing 13 productions from The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera will be broadcast to more than 1,300 cinemas from the UK all the way to New Zealand.
Each broadcast offers audiences the best seat in the house, and includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and insights into the rehearsal process. The programme forms an integral part of our plan to secure our future, expand audiences and continue to help facilitate the vital recovery of cinema domestically and internationally.
Main image: Yasuko Kageyama