By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly is generally considered one of the greatest works to emerge from the Italian verismo movement – that is, the short, concentrated period in operatic history which lasted from just 1892 (the premiere of Catalani’s La Wally) through 1926 (when Puccini’s Turandot marked its end). Verismo was the Italian response to the naturalist movement that originated in French literature, notably in the working-class milieus presented by Émile Zola and Guy de Maupassant. Italy found its equivalent in Giovanni Verga, author of the short story Cavalleria rusticana on which composer Pietro Mascagni based his 1890 verismo-defining opera of the same title.
Despite its origins in “realism” with stories based on contemporary, working-class life, the operatic iteration of the verismomovement soon shifted focus to explore more diverse subject matter which embraced the “exotic.” Consider this list of verismoheroines who emerged in the decades after 1892: noblewomen (Giordano’s Fedora; Cilea’s Gloria; and, the nobly born nun Angelica in Puccini’s Suor Angelica); courtesans (Stephana in Giordano’s Siberia; Puccini’s Magda in La rondine) and "oriental waifs" (Mascagni’s Iris and Puccini’s Liù in Turandot). So, it is an oversimplification to view verismo opera as dealing solely in subjects drawn from tawdry newspaper headlines (as did Verga’s and Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana). The proof is in Madama Butterfly, only the most famous example of how composers of this era, including Mascagni, strove to constantly expand and refine their art, searching for new and original subject matter to include such (then) “exotic” cultures like Japan’s.
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Kelly Kaduce comes to the Canadian Opera Company full of the passion needed to portray one of Puccini's most iconic, and tragic, characters.
What’s she doing with us? This is Kelly's debut with the COC, sharing the title role with Patricia Racette in the COC’s acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly. Like Patricia, she has sung Cio-Cio San in several productions, with Santa Fe Opera, West Australia Opera, and Portland Opera.
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fall, two singers make their Canadian Opera Company debuts in the role
of a teenage girl whose passion, heartbreak and sorrow requires the
power and emotions of a rich soprano. Singing six of these performances
is a woman who has built her career upon this role and made it her own: Patricia Racette!
What she's doing with us: American soprano Patricia Racette makes her COC debut as the tragic Cio-Cio San in one of the best-loved operas of all time, Puccini's, Madama Butterfly.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001