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Maestro Robert Butts leads New Opera Company Production of Madama Butterfly

Soprano Karole Lewis (Madama Butterfly), mezzo-soprano Danielle Horta (Suzuki), Maestro Robert W. Butts

Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini, Robert W. Butts, Conductor, Eastern Opera Company of New Jersey with musicians of The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, May 11/18 at 7:30 PM, May 12/19 at 3:00 PM, Brook Arts Center, 10 Hamilton Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey.  Admission: $35 adults, $25 seniors. or call 908-566-5708.

Maestro Robert W. Butts of Madison and musicians of The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, fresh off their triumphant premier of Paul Zeigler’s electrifying Piano Concerto at Dolan Hall, The College of Saint Elizabeth, will collaborate with Eastern Opera Company of New Jersey for a special production of Giacomo Puccini’s beloved Madama Butterfly, with performances at the Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook, New Jersey.

Maestro Butts has led highly acclaimed operatic performances throughout New Jersey during the past ten years.  He has been finalist and winner of The American Prize for his work with the BONJ Summer Music Festival and Opera at Florham in productions seen at The College of Saint Elizabeth and at Fairleigh Dickinson University.     In January, 2013, he was one of five invited composers to work with Atlanta Opera on the 24 Hour Opera Project.    In February, 2013 he presented a paper on Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello and Rigoletto to The American Musicological Society at The Metropolitan Opera House in New York.     His original opera Mark Twain and the General, with libretto by noted New Jersey playwright Jewel Seehaus-Fisher, was given its first full performance at NJIT in Newark in February 2013.

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Directing and singing the title role will be soprano Karole Lewis.     Lewis has appeared with Maestro Butts and The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey in Mozart’s Don Giovanni  and The Magic Flute.   She directed the Opera at Florham production of La Traviata at Dreyfuss Theatre in 2011.     Lewis has sung many leading roles with Opera San Jose, Oakland Opera, Monterey Opera and Livermore Valley Opera.

Singing the role of Suzuki will be young mezzo-soprano Danielle Horta.     Praised for her “astounding musicianship and great character portrayal,” she brings poignancy and warmth to the important role of Butterfly’s servant and friend.   

Also featured in the Eastern Opera Company production are tenor Peter S. Lewis (Pinkerton), Minsu Park (Sharpless), Ira Michael Barth (Goro) and Jason Adamo (Yamaori).

If you are new to Opera, this is the one to get you hooked!  The opera will be sung in English with beautiful costumes, sets and accompanied by a small orchestra conducted by Robert Butts, Ph.D. of Rockaway. The singers are Karole Lewis of Warren as Cio-Cio-San, Peter Lewis of Warren as Pinkerton, Danielle Horta of East Winsor as Suzuki, Minsu Park of Plainsboro as Sharpless, Ira Barth of Dover as Goro, Joseph Duran of Boontown as Imperial Commissioner, Jason Adamo of Jersey City as Bonzo and Yamadori, Jessica Esrig as Kate and the relatives include: Justyna Giermola, Jamie Klenetsky, Kimberly Lewis, Tom Loughman, Angela McGhee and Dmitri Zigrino.

Madama Butterfly is the tragic tale of love and betrayal resulting in death. Set in Nagasaki at the beginning of the twentieth century, Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton visits Japan and takes Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly) for his wife on one of his port excursions.  Never intending to keep his vows he returns to the US but promises Butterfly he will return when Red Robins nest.  After his departure back to US, Butterfly has his child and waits for his return.  After three long years, Butterfly remains faithful and steadfast. Pinkerton and his new wife return to Japan and are told about his son.  Butterfly is asked to give up her son and consents to release the child only to Pinkerton in half an hour. When all are gone, Butterfly kills herself.  With her final breath, she hears him crying out "Butterfly".

Eastern Opera, Inc. is a nonprofit company dedicated to providing the community with live grand opera productions in intimate settings at affordable prices.  Madama Butterfly is the first fully staged production.  Otello will be performed in August in collaboration with The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey. 

Madama Butterfly by Puccini will be presented by Eastern Opera at the Brook Theater, May 11 at 8:00pm, May 12 at 3:00pm, May 18 at 8:00pm and May 19 at 3:00pm.  For information please visit the web site: or call 908-566-5708.

Photos Attached: Robert W. Butts, Conductor

Danielle Horta, mezzo-soprano (Suzuki)


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