Los Angeles Opera to present a reimagined production of Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ on a film soundstage

The Los Angeles Opera has announced its much-anticipated 2024-25 season, kicking off on September 21st with a captivating reimagining of Puccini’s timeless classic, “Madama Butterfly.”

This innovative production will take place within the confines of a film studio, promising a fresh and unique perspective on the beloved opera.

In addition to this groundbreaking adaptation, the company has revealed plans to introduce the company premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s “Ainadamar,” marking an exciting addition to their repertoire.

However, in a strategic shift, the number of main-stage productions will be reduced from six to five, signaling a deliberate focus on quality over quantity.

The reimagined staging of “Madama Butterfly,” originally showcased at Madrid’s Teatro Real in 2017, will feature the exceptional talents of Karah Son as Cio-Cio-San and Jonathan Tetelma as Pinkerton, both making their highly anticipated debuts with the company.

Under the baton of James Conlon, who embarks on his 19th season as the music director, audiences can expect a masterful and evocative interpretation of Puccini’s iconic score.

CEO Christopher Koelsch offered insights into the creative vision behind this bold reinterpretation, highlighting the ingenious decision to set the production within a vintage Hollywood soundstage.

He emphasized director Martin Gas’s deliberate choice to contextualize the portrayal of Japan within the framework of a film studio, effectively framing the narrative within a distinct yet familiar setting.

Koelsch underscored the significance of the Hollywood connection, noting that despite the production not being originally conceived for the LA Opera, its thematic resonance with the city of Los Angeles makes it a particularly fitting and compelling choice.

The announcement of the 2024-25 season has generated widespread anticipation and excitement within the opera community, as enthusiasts eagerly await the unveiling of this innovative and ambitious programming.

The decision to introduce a reimagined production of a beloved classic alongside a company premiere reflects the LA Opera’s commitment to pushing artistic boundaries and engaging audiences with fresh and thought-provoking experiences.

As the esteemed institution prepares to embark on this new chapter, the 2024-25 season promises to captivate and inspire, showcasing the enduring relevance of opera in the modern cultural landscape.

With a fusion of tradition and innovation, the LA Opera’s upcoming season is poised to leave an indelible mark on the world of performing arts, reaffirming its position as a vanguard of artistic excellence and creativity.

The performing arts industry has faced significant challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, with widespread closures and cancellations impacting revenue streams.

However, there are promising signs of recovery, as evidenced by the success of main-stage productions in the current season.

The three main-stage productions have collectively generated $5.2 million, indicating a positive trend in the industry’s financial performance.

Looking back at previous seasons, the 2022-23 productions brought in $9.4 million, showcasing a substantial increase in revenue compared to the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season, which resulted in just under $7 million from four stagings.

These figures reflect a resilient and adaptive approach to navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic, highlighting the industry’s ability to bounce back and thrive in the face of adversity.

In response to these developments, leadership within the organization, such as Koelsch, has emphasized the importance of building resiliency and strength for the long-term sustainability of the organization.

This strategic focus on long-term viability underscores a commitment to weathering uncertainties and ensuring the continued success of the performing arts institution.

Looking ahead, the upcoming production of “Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears)” on April 26, 2025, starring acclaimed performers Ana María Martínez and Daniela Mack, promises to be a significant addition to the company’s repertoire.

With a staging by Deborah Colker, which has garnered acclaim at various renowned opera houses, including the Scottish Opera, Detroit Opera, and Welsh National Opera, this production holds great promise for captivating audiences and further bolstering the organization’s financial standing.

Furthermore, the revival of Ian Judge’s 2005 staging of Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” starting November 2, featuring the debuts of Duke Kim and Amina Edris, presents an exciting opportunity to engage audiences with a timeless classic reimagined for contemporary sensibilities.

Similarly, Michael Cavanagh’s production of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte,” set to open on March 8, 2025, boasts a stellar cast led by Conlon and including acclaimed performers Erica Petrocelli and Rihab Chaieb, further enriching the company’s artistic offerings.

Notably, the staging of Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” set to open on May 31, 2025, is a testament to the company’s commitment to presenting diverse and compelling works.

With acclaimed performers such as Quinn Kelsey, Rosa Feola in her company debut, and René Barbera, this production promises to captivate audiences and contribute to the organization’s ongoing success.

Koelsch’s statement regarding the upcoming production of “Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears),” marking the company’s ninth main-stage opera in Spanish in its 38-year history, underscores the institution’s dedication to showcasing a diverse range of works and fostering inclusivity within its programming.

In conclusion, the recent successes and upcoming productions within the performing arts institution signal a promising trajectory of recovery and growth following the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The commitment to building resiliency and strength for the long term, as articulated by leadership, reflects a strategic and forward-thinking approach to ensuring the organization’s continued success.

As the industry continues to navigate uncertainties, these developments serve as a testament to the enduring power of the performing arts and its ability to inspire, entertain, and thrive in the face of adversity.