Point of View: Madama Butterfly

By: Lyric Opera Staff

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A series of images taken from backstage at Madama Butterfly
Photos by Don Ipock

To witness the singing actors in our production of Madama Butterfly is a great joy, whether you’re sitting in the Muriel Kauffman Theater or whether you have special access to these backstage views. Local photographer Don Ipock took these images at the final dress rehearsal of Madama Butterfly on Thursday, November 1.

Above, Butterfly’s friends (Lyric Opera Chorus) arrive to help celebrate her wedding to Lt. Pinkerton.

The wedding turns frightening when Butterfly’s uncle, The Bonze (Peixin Chen, center right), renounces Butterfly for abandoning her religion and converting to Christianity. Pinkerton (Georgy Vasiliev, left) isn’t intimidated, and orders the Bonze out.

Although the wedding had an unhappy ending, with “Madama B.F. Pinkerton” (Karah Son) renounced by her friends and family, she shares a tender wedding night with her husband (Georgy Vasiliev).

Above, the American Consul Sharpless (Daniel Belcher) poses a difficult question to Butterfly (Karah Son, in her U.S. debut): what if Pinkerton never comes back for you? We see the answer in her tears.

Above: after Pinkerton’s ship is spotted in Nagasaki Harbor, Butterfly (Karah Son, in white) is convinced that Pinkerton will be climbing the hill to her home any moment; yet her vigil lasts all night.

This photo, taken from stage right, captures the moment when Butterfly (Karah Son, left, in white) realizes who that woman is (Resident Artist Kelly Birch as Kate Pinkerton) …and immediately knows why she is there. Suzuki (Kristen Choi) and Sharpless (Daniel Belcher) already know, but the moment is still one of sorrow and dismay.