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At the Carlo Felice Opera in Genoa “Madama Butterfly” on the centenary of Puccini, Fabio Luisi on the podium
For Luisi it is the first Puccini title directed in Italy; the direction, inspired by Kabuki, is by the Latvian Alvis Hermanis
Organized by: Carlo Felice Theater Foundation of Genoa
Under 18, 15 euros – Under 30, 25 euros

Carlo Felice Theater Foundation of Genoa Presents

“Opera Season 2023/24”
TO Genoa the Carlo Felice Theater opens 2024 with a tribute to Puccini on the centenary of his death: one of the most famous works of the composer from Lucca, Madama Butterfly, will be on the bill from 19 to 28 January, entrusted to the wand of Fabio Luisi, honorary director of the Theatre, who for the first time tackles a Puccinian title in Italy.

The direction is by the Latvian Alvis Hermanis who also signs the scenes, the costumes are by Kristine Jurjane, the choreography by Alla Sigalova, the lights of Gleb Filshtinsky and the videos of Ineta Sipunova. The Ballet Dance Training and Entertainment Foundation “For Dance” ETS participates; the Orchestra, the Choir and the technicians are those of the Opera Carlo Felice Genova, who were also responsible for the staging.

On stage they will bring the protagonists of the opera to life, Lianna Haroutounian / Jennifer Rowley (Cio-Cio-San), Manuela Custer / Caterina Piva (Suzuki), Alena Sautier (Kate Pinkerton), Fabio Sartori / Matteo Lippi (FB Pinkerton), Vladimir Stoyanov / Alessandro Luongo (Sharpless), Manuel Pierattelli (Goro), Paolo Orecchia (Prince Yamadori), Luciano Leoni (Uncle Bonzo); complete the cast, Claudio Ottino (The Imperial Commissioner), Franco Rios Castro (The registrar), Luca Romano (Yakusidé), Maria Letizia Poltini / Daniela Aloisi (Cio-Cio-San's mother), Mariasole Mainini / Lucia Scilipoti (The aunt), Eleonora Ronconi / Adelaide Minnone (Cousin).

After 'Before' on Fridays January 19 (8pm), the show, the fourth title of the Opera Season 2023-24Opera Carlo Felice, will be repeated on Saturday 20 is Sunday 21 to 3pm, Friday 26 is Saturday 27 to 8pm, finally Sunday   January at 3pm.

Madama Butterfly, sixth work by Giacomo Puccini, is inspired by the tragedy of the same name by the American playwright and impresario David Belasco, a work that the composer saw in London in June 1900. The subject was particularly interesting, but the composition process lasted several years, this is also due to the in-depth research into Japanese culture that the composer carried out to accurately paint characters, places and traditions together with the librettists Joseph Giacosa is Luigi Illica. The first performance was held at Teatro alla Scala in February of 1904, and it was a failure, but since the first revival which took place a few months later in Brescia, Madama Butterfly was consecrated as one of Puccini's greatest masterpieces.

At the Carlo Felice the work will be proposed in the so-called "fifth version”, i.e. the last, which collects all the changes introduced by the composer after the first performances, including the division into three acts, the introduction of the aria «Addio fioreto asil» and significant variations in the characterization of some characters.

Fabio Luisi, who returns to the Carlo Felice Opera after the successes of the 2022-2023 Season with Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II and with the symphonic concerts Ciclo Bruckner, Mitteleuropa and Novecenti, comments on the most important elements in the interpretation of the opera as follows: « While in the primitive version, especially in the first act, there is attention to the hypocritical and cruel social milieu around Butterfly, in the "traditional" version this corner is smoothed out, without however abandoning it. Pinkerton remains a despicable character, and the only humanity that Butterfly encounters in her story is the true humanity of Suzuki and that, also all in all a bit hypocritical, of Sharpless. Let's say that we feel Butterfly's tragedy in her loneliness and in her unfulfilled and sincere love for a man who doesn't deserve her. Puccini does not always make life easy for his performers: the secret lies in not transforming sweetness into sappyness and sentiment into sentimentality. His musical language is always sincere, and must be cleaned of kitsch legacies. Particular attention must be given to the choice of tempos and phrasing, which must remain at the service of theatrical rhythms".

Directed by Alvis Hermanis is inspired by Kabuki, a traditional Japanese theatrical genre, focused on the rhetoric of gesture as an expression of the text. Gestures and movement on stage thus become central elements, and deeply reveal the complex psychology of each character. Precisely for this reason, ample space is given to dance as an amplifier of the gestural dimension. The research around Kabuki is also supported by a particular attention to the use of rigorous historical references, which clearly emerge also thanks to the use of lights and projected videos. In the essay Alvis Hermanis and Madama Butterfly: the gesture of fragility, published by Teatro alla Scala, Olivier Lexa highlights some of the scenic elements created by the director: «Like a butterfly, Cio-Cio-San is fragile, vulnerable. The universe that surrounds her is equally so. The rice paper of the sliding panels representative of the traditional Japanese house reinforces this impression of fragility and delicacy, as do the silks of the kimonos and their effects of such special movements, which prolong the rhythm and choreography inspired by Kabuki. Japanese minimalism is present everywhere, evidenced by the work done on light and the use of particularly soft and subtle colors. These evoke watercolor and are present in the large format reproductions of the portraits inspired by traditional Japanese prints, as well as in the smallest details of the costumes."
At the Carlo Felice Opera in Genoa “Madama Butterfly” on the centenary of Puccini, Fabio Luisi on the podium


Main characters and performers

Lianna Haroutounian / Jennifer Rowley (20, 27)
Manuela Custer / Caterina Piva (20, 27)
Kate Pinkerton
Alena Sautier
FB Pinkerton
Fabio Sartori / Matteo Lippi (20, 27)
Vladimir Stoyanov / Alessandro Luongo (20, 27)
Manuel Pierattelli
Prince Yamadori
Paolo Orecchia
Uncle Bonzo
Luciano Leoni

Concert master and conductor
Fabio Luisi

Direction and sets
Alvis Hermanis

Costumes Kristine Jurjane
Choreographies Alla Sigalova
Lights Gleb Filshtinsky
Video Ineta Sipunova

Orchestra, Choir and technicians of the Carlo Felice Opera
Choir Master Claudio Marino Moretti

Ballet Dance Training and Entertainment Foundation “For Dance” ETS

Installation by the Carlo Felice Theater Foundation of Genoa  


Madama Butterfly
Japanese tragedy in three acts by Giacomo Puccini

on booklet by Luigi Illica is Giuseppe Giacosa,
from the tragedy of David Belasco


19 January 2024 at 8pm 'before'
performances on 20, 21 and 28 January at 3pm
and 26 and 27 January at 8pm

Who organizes

Carlo Felice Theater Foundation of GenoaThe Carlo Felice Theatre,… more

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