Release date: 11/5/2010

San Francisco Opera Present's Puccini's Madama Butterfly Starring Daniela Dessì, November 5-27

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San Francisco Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s tragic love story Madama Butterfly, starring celebrated Italian soprano Daniela Dessì in the title role of Cio-Cio-San, for six performances running November 5—27 at the War Memorial Opera House. The cast also stars tenor Stefano Secco as Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton, with former Adler Fellow Daveda Karanas as Cio-Cio-San’s maid and confidante, Suzuki, and baritone Quinn Kelsey as the American Consul Sharpless, a role he shares with Brian Mulligan.
This stirring production from Lyric Opera of Chicago, which is presented at San Francisco Opera for the first time and directed by Jose Maria Condemi, was created by Tony Award winning Broadway stage director Harold Prince and inspired by traditional Japanese theater. Julian Kovatchev conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
Internationally renowned spinto soprano Daniela Dessì counts nearly all of Puccini’s heroines in her repertoire. Dessì has previously appeared as Cio-Cio-San in Verona, Barcelona, Torre del Lago, Ancona, Milan and Madrid. She last performed at San Francisco Opera in 1995 as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Italian tenor Stefano Secco sings the role of Cio-Cio-San’s beloved Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton, following recent San Francisco Opera appearances in the title role of Faust and as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. Secco’s other credits include Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor in Berlin, Genoa, Parma and Firenze; Rodolfo in La Bohème in Monte-Carlo, Berlin, Paris, Parma and Bolgna; and the title role of Werther in Paris, Frankfurt and Baden-Baden. Former Adler Fellow and mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas appears as Butterfly’s loyal maid Suzuki. Karanas recently made her role debut as Waltraute in San Francisco Opera’s 2010 production of Wagner’s Die Walküre and will return in that role and as the 2nd Norn in the Company’s full Ring cycle in 2011.
Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey returns to San Francisco Opera as the American Consul Sharpless, a role he has also performed at Hawaii Opera Theater and New York City Opera. Kelsey made his Company debut as Marcello in 2008’s La Bohème and he will return to San Francisco as Amonasro in the November and December performances of Aida. Sharing the role of Sharpless for three performances is baritone Brian Mulligan. Mulligan recently made his role debut as Sharpless at English National Opera and also appears with San Francisco Opera this season as Albert in Werther and Ragueneau in Cyrano de Bergerac.
This production, originated by legendary Broadway stage director Harold Prince at Lyric Opera Chicago, is a visually stunning interpretation of one of Puccini’s most beloved operas. A winner of 21 Tony Awards, Prince has created opera productions at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Jose Maria Condemi, who recently directed the 2010 production of Faust, directs. The November performances will be led by conductor Julian Kovatchev, making his San Francisco Opera debut; Kovatchev has previously conducted Madama Butterfly in Stuttgart and Genoa.
Tickets and Information
Tickets for the performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly are priced from $20 to $360 and may be purchased at or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330]. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For more public transportation information, visit and
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Madama Butterfly and San Francisco Opera’s 2010–11 season, please visit