LA Opera’s (www.laopera.org) critically acclaimed production of “Madame Butterfly,” starring Puerto Rican born Ana María Martínez, truly captured the hearts of Los Angeles audiences.
Grammy Award-winning Martínez, in the lead role of the young geisha Cio-Cio-San, performed Puccini’s masterpiece with such depth and beauty, exploring the tragic love story where East and West cultures collide.
One of the foremost sopranos of her time, Martínez is a favorite with Los Angeles audiences, having played the roles of Mimi in “La Bohème” in 1997, Violetta in “La Traviata” in 2001, and Amelia in “Simon Boccanegra” in 2012. She began LA Opera’s 2015/2016 season as Nedda in “Pagliacci,” conducted by the legendary Placido Domingo, with whom she also appeared at the prestigious Salzburg Festival in honor of the 40th anniversary of his debut there.
This season, she also returned to Opera de Puerto Rico as Cio-Cio-San, to Houston Grand Opera in the title role of Rusalka and to the Metropolitan Opera as Musetta in “La Bohème.”
Martinez’ work was complemented by stellar performances by conductor James Conlon, Italian tenor Stefano Stecco in the role of Pinkerton, Serbian-born Milena Kitic as Suzuki, and Seoul, South Korea native Kihun Yoon, member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, in the role of Sharpless. Five-year-old Nicholas Cuenca Terry, who plays Cio-Cio-San’s son, stole the show.
“Madame Butterfly” presented its final performances at LA Opera in early April.
Photo Credit: Ken Howard for LA OPERA