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Opera Lyra presents Puccini’s tragic masterwork – Madama Butterfly

By Bonnie Tompkins on April 18, 2014



Opera Lyra is back at the NAC with its spring production. Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece, Madama Butterfly (aka Madame Butterfly) is the bittersweet tale of a young Japanese woman, Ciocio-san ( Madama Butterfly), who falls in love with, and marries, a cowardly and callous American naval officer, Lieutenant Pinkerton. She converts to Christianity for her American husband causing her family to disown her.

Her husband returns to the States shortly after their wedding, leaving Butterfly alone, and pregnant, with only her maid, Suzuki for company. Lieutenant Pinkerton returns to Nagasaki three years later, with his new American wife, Kate, to ask Butterfly for a divorce -and to take their child back to America to be raised by his new wife… it is a tale of cowardice, heartache and woe -everything that makes opera worth seeing.

Madama Butterfly will be the final production for Artistic Director Tyrone Paterson. He has been with Opera Lyra for sixteen years (since 1998), working in various capacities, most notably as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director. Tyrone Paterson has had an instrumental role in raising the profile of opera in Ottawa and in Canada. As a conductor, he has led orchestras all around the world and has conducted for most of Canada’s leading companies.

The Opera Lyra Studio Program, a program designed to help launch the careers of Canadian singers, was initiated under his direction. As General Director of Opera Lyra (from 1998 to 2003) Tyrone Paterson got Ottawa’s premier opera company back on track; the company experienced five consecutive years of a budget surplus, eliminated 90% of its debt, increased donors and sponsors, and flourished artistically and creatively. Tyrone Paterson has been an integral part of the opera scene in Ottawa for nearly twenty years and he will be sorely missed. Luckily, he has agreed to return as a Guest Conductor from time to time.

Madama Butterfly, Tyrone Paterson’s farewell performance, will run for four nights only, April 19, 21, 23 and 26, 2014. Curtain’s at 8pm. Maybe it’ll be the start of a new and interesting Easter tradition. Easter at the Opera, it has a nice ring.

For a sneak peak, view the following video of Madama Butterfly in 107 seconds:


Tickets range from $32 – $192 and can be purchased here.