|June 15, 2016 – Great Barrington, MA – Berkshire Opera Festival is proud to launch its inaugural season this summer with a production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the historic Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (August 27, 30, and September 2 at 7:30pm). BOF will offer a welcome return of locally-produced opera to the longtime classical music hub.
General Director and Co-Founder Jonathon Loy, a frequent guest director at The Metropolitan Opera in New York, and who has deep family roots in the Berkshires, commented: “We’re very excited for the first season of Berkshire Opera Festival, and to be presenting the first fully-produced opera in the Berkshires in years.” BOF’s other Co-Founder, Artistic Director and conductor Brian Garman, added: “To perform this perennial favorite with a world-class cast – I can’t think of a better way to launch Berkshire Opera Festival and help revive opera in the Berkshires.”
The Festival will also include two recitals. The first, Breaking Down Barriers (August 10 at 7:30pm at Ventfort Hall in Lenox), will feature songs by female composers of Puccini’s day, whose music was largely overlooked during their lifetimes. The second program, The “Unknown” Puccini (August 16 at 7:30pm at Saint James Place in Great Barrington), will present rarely-heard songs Puccini wrote for voice and piano.
Madama Butterfly, which will be set in the 1960s against the backdrop of Japan’s economic boom, features an international cast of singers, including Moldovan soprano Inna Los in the title role. From the Metropolitan Opera to Deutsche Oper Berlin to the Wiener Staatsoper, she has sung around the globe to great acclaim, and her performances of Puccini’s doomed geisha have enjoyed success worldwide. Tenor Jason Slayden, recognized for his stirring portrayals of many Verdi and Puccini roles, sings Pinkerton. Reprising a favorite role that has earned him raves, the American baritone Weston Hurt stars as Sharpless, the U.S. consul. Fast-rising mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen takes on the role of Suzuki, while Metropolitan Opera tenor Eduardo Valdes sings Goro. Legendary bass and Berkshire resident John Cheek fills out the cast in the role of Butterfly’s uncle, the Bonze. The performances feature the Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra and Chorus.
Tickets are priced from $20 to $98, and are available through www.berkshireoperafestival.org or by calling the box office at 413-997-4444.
About Berkshire Opera Festival
The mission of Berkshire Opera Festival, opening in the summer of 2016, is to entertain and enrich the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the Berkshire region by providing accessible and affordable performances of a broad range of operas with the highest artistic standards. An innovative and intensive education program and a strong public presence will also establish BOF as a valuable member of the Berkshire arts community.