Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by L. Illica and G. Giacosa
New arrangement by Daniel Schlosberg
Adapted by Ethan Heard and Jacob Ashworth
Translation by Jacob Ashworth & Peregrine Heard
White male artists invented the tragic geisha, Madama Butterfly, and in so doing fueled a stereotype that has dominated Western imagination ever since. This daring new adaptation of Puccini’s iconic romance explodes that legacy of fetishization and exposes the Sorrow left behind.
Cio Cio San // Banlingyu Ban
Suzuki // Siobahn Sung
Sharpless // Matthew Singer
Pinkerton // Mackenzie Whitney
Goro // Jordan Pitts
Boy // Noah Spagnola
Stage Direction // Ethan Heard
Music Direction // Jacob Ashworth
Choreography // Emma Jaster
Set Design // Reid Thompson
Costume Design // Valérie Thérèse Bart
Lighting Design // Oliver Wason
Hair & Makeup Designer // Jon Carter
Stage Manager // Jakob W. Plummer
"This small, adventurous company strives to make opera a visceral, intimate and immediate 'encounter,' as they have said. Their alterations to masterpieces aim to get past dated elements that can mute the raw emotions and the timeless issues coursing within the original works."
– Anthony Tommasini, ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Carmen,’ in Bold and Vivid Cuts (The New York Times)
Ethan Heard's "handsome, minimal production ... would make a fine touring Butterfly staging" and "had a compelling anchor".
– Opera News, In Review: Madama Butterfly (5/20/17), Carmen (5/25/17)
"[W]hat’s so pleasing about Heartbeat Opera’s “Butterfly” is how well its artistic intentions dovetail with its limited means."
– Russell Platt, The Trailblazing Efforts of “Indie Opera” (The New Yorker)
Relive the 2017 spring Festival
CARMEN // May 21–28, 2017
The border is a place of intense turmoil. This radical new adaptation strips down Bizet’s explosive masterpiece to the four central characters as they hurl themselves against real and imaginary fences.
See CARMEN Cast & Videos ›
COLLABORET // May 24, 2017
Join us for an evening of eclectic music-theater which draws from Heartbeat Opera's ever widening community of artists and expands the definition of opera.
Learn more ›
OPENING NIGHT GALA // May 23, 2017
Enjoy a double-bill of BUTTERFLY & CARMEN with premium seating and an exclusive prosecco toast at intermission.
See Photos from Opening Night ›
Meet the Team
Ethan Heard directs plays, musicals, and operas. As Founding Co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera, he has directed Dido and Aeneas, Kafka-Fragments, The Seven Deadly Sins, and the drag extravaganzas Miss Handel and The Fairy Queen. Other recent opera includes the world premieres of Orth and Campbell’s Empty the House (Curtis Institute of Music) and Cady, Siegel and Welch’s Sisyphus (Experiments in Opera); Erismena and L’Orfeo (Yale Baroque Opera Project), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Princeton University). Recent musical theater includes Little Shop of Horrors, Bells Are Ringing, and A Little Night Music (Berkshire Theatre Group), the world premiere of Campbell and Michelson’s The Other Room (Inner Voices), Michelson's Song of Song of Songs (Judson), Merrily We Roll Along (Yale Dramat), Sunday in the Park with George (Yale School of Drama), and Mel Brooks’ The Producers (Princeton). Plays include: Lottie in the Late Afternoon and Julius Caesar (YSD), The Cat and the Canary (BTG), The Gay Ivy (Dixon Place), Iphigenia and Other Daughters and Proof (Santa Fe Theater Festival), Pullman WA and in a word (Williamstown Workshop). While earning his MFA at YSD, Ethan served as Artistic Director of Yale Cabaret, where he co-created Basement Hades and Trannequin and began the tradition of Yale School of Drag. He is Resident Director of Jay Chou's The Secret, China's first jukebox musical, and he is currently on faculty at Yale School of Drama, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and Princeton University. ethanheard.com
Opera News called violinist Jacob Ashworth's 2015 performance of Kurtag’s Kafka-Fragments “a flat-out triumph for its two fearless performers.” At home across the spectrum of classical music, Jacob has gained a reputation as a consummate stylist, from his “diligent attention to [baroque] period style” (NY Times) to his “exacting and sensitive” interpretations of modern works (Boston Globe). Ashworth is violinist, conductor, and Artistic Director of Cantata Profana, which he founded at Yale School of Music in 2012, and Co-Music Director of Heartbeat Opera. For Heartbeat’s 2016 production of Dido and Aeneas, the New Yorker noted, “Ashworth, leading from the violin, elicited a performance that was elegant, boisterous, and melancholy by turns.”
Cio Cio San
Banlingyu (Ban Ban) graduated with Professional Studies Diploma at Mannes School of Music in 2016. Ban Ban was born in Shandong, China and obtained her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Ms. Ban has sung Giannetta in L’elisir D’amore and Dolcina in Suor Angelica with The Mannes Opera, Monica in The Medium and Genovieffa in Suor Angelica with Chicago Summer Opera, Nella in Gianni Schicchi with Burletta Opera Festival in Shanghai.
Ms. Ban won the Platinum Award in the Forte International Music Competition 2017 in New York, Tuscia International Opera Festival Competition 3rd Place and Best Puccini Performance Award 2012 in Italy, as well as the Excellence Award from Asia International Vocal Festival in Hong Kong.
California native Siobahn Sung enjoys a wide and varied career in opera, recital and concert work, as well as championing new and non-traditional compositions. Ms. Sung is fluid, equally at home as Liza in Weill’s Lady in the Dark or Idamante in Idomeneo; as a featured soloist in Bach’s Matthäus-Passion or engaging the post-1950s avant-garde; performing with Bang on a Can, or the San Diego Opera for three seasons. This summer she will debut an original interdisciplinary work entitled “We regret to inform you...” about the dynamic and changing role of the modern opera singer.
Matthew Singer, baritone, has sung such roles as Escamillo in Carmen, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La Bohème, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio in I Pagliacci, Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Danilo in The Merry Widow, and the Narrator in Rage D’Amours, an opera commissioned and performed by the Tanglewood Festival of Music in 2003. He has performed numerous works in concert, including the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Mackenzie Whitney is a lyric tenor from Janesville, Iowa. He is based in Philadelphia where he recently graduated from the Academy of Vocal Arts and continues his studies with renowned voice teacher, Bill Schuman. He has worked with such companies as: Utah Opera, Opera on the James, Symphony in C, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Lakes Area Music Festival, Mill City Summer Opera, Madison Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera. He was a winner of the 2015 Philadelphia district of MONCA and received grants in various competitions throughout New York in 2016. He hold a Bachelor's in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Iowa.
Jordan Weatherston Pitts, American tenor, has been praised for his "heroic" sound full of "passion and tender vulnerability," and has received lauded reviews by the likes of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Early Music America Magazine. His stage appearances have most recently included the role of Alfredo in La Traviata with the Adelphi Orchestra of New Jersey, Goro in Madama Butterfly with The New York Opera Collaborative, Spoletta in Tosca and Vitellozzo in Lucrezia Borgia with Loft Opera, Davey Palmer in Jonathan Dove's Siren Song with the Boston University Opera Institute. In concert, Jordan has been seen as a soloist with the Musikkapelle, in Kiefersfelden, Germany, The Garden State Opera, The Boston Camerata, and the Buffalo Opera Unlimited.
Noah Spagnola is excited to be part of the Butterfly cast. Noah lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his parents, brother Isaac and sister Quincy. He is in the fourth grade and his favorite subjects are reading and science. In his spare time, Noah creates videos for his YouTube channel, Toy Kid. He also enjoys freestyle dancing and riding his bike.
Top prize winner of the 2015 Seoul International Music Competition, violinist Suliman Tekalli has performed on big concert stages throughout the North America, Europe, and Asia such as Carnegie Hall, the Seoul Arts Center, Wigmore Hall, and the Kennedy Center. His performances have been broadcasted on live KBS TV in Korea, Montreal Canada's CBC Radio 3, WQXR and NPR. Mr. Tekalli has performed at Music@Menlo, Yellow Barn, and the Banff Centre, collaborating with artists such as Donald Weilerstein, Roger Tapping, Paul Watkins, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, and Wu Han. He also frequently concertized with his sibling pianist Jamila Tekalli whom he has recorded an album entitled "Duality". Mr. Tekalli has given the world premiere of his composition “Mephistoccata” at the 2013 Montreal International Music Competition, receiving the Maurice and Judith Kaplow Prize for Uncommon Creativity from the Cleveland Institute of Music the same year. A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Suliman Tekalli attended the Juilliard School's B.M. program studying with Hyo Kang, as well as Sergiu Schwartz at the Schwob School of Music, and received a M.M. from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Joel Smirnoff.
Described as a ‘Compelling Violinist’ by the New York Times, Patrick Doane has performed with ensembles including Orchestra of St. Luke's, Harrisburg Symphony, Hotel Elefant, and American Contemporary Music Ensemble. Patrick has appeared alongside artists such as Savion Glover and Keith Lockhart, and members of the Muir, Haven, and Portland String Quartets. He received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from Juilliard and as a composer has had works commissioned and performed for string quartet and chamber orchestra. A first year DMA student at CUNY Graduate Center, Patrick currently studies with Daniel Phillips.
A fierce advocate of contemporary music, Anne Lanzilotti has distinguished herself premiering works by and collaborating with composers of her generation. An active composer-performer, Lanzilotti has been a guest artist with Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Échappé, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Lanzilotti teaches at NYU Steinhardt and will be joining the faculty at University of Northern Colorado School of Music in the fall. A native of Hawai‘i, she is a co-founder and Artistic Consultant for Kalikolehua — El Sistema Hawai‘i, a free orchestra program for underserved youth. For a complete bio, please visit: http://annelanzilotti.com
Luke Krafka (BM '07, MM '09 in Cello Performance at the Boston Conservatory and Certiﬁcate at Aaron Copland School of Music '15), has given both chamber and solo recitals in Boston, New York City and Western Europe. Mr. Krafka has attended numerous music festivals around the world including the Heifetz International Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, Salem New Music Festival and the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. Along with a very active orchestral, chamber and teaching career, Mr. Krafka is the founder and artistic/director of the Halcyon Chamber Series, a classical chamber series featuring some of the top performers in NYC with a focus on bringing performances to spaces and audiences that would never have the opportunity.
Composer, cellist, and conductor, Paul Brantley is a five-time MacDowell Colony Fellow who has also received fellowships from Banff Centre and The Anderson Center. He has recently enjoyed performances of his music by Horszowski Trio, Flux Quartet, New Esterházy Quartet, and Memphis Symphony. Brantley recently composed a cello concerto, The Royal Revolver, for Eric Jacobsen (The Knights). He co-founded the Seal Bay Festival and was artist faculty at Yellow Barn Music Festival. In addition to positions at Syracuse University and Washington and Lee University, Brantley was a Manhattan School of Music artist faculty from 2000 to 2014. He was invited to give a composition seminar at Yale University in 2012. He is director and cellist of the newly formed Mercury Chamber Players. www.billholabmusic.com/composers/paul-brantley/
Based in New York City, Bulgarian harpist Tomina Parvanova has performed with a myriad of major orchestras and ensembles, including Boston Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Boston Ballet and Albany Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Parvanova is a two times winner of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular audition. On Broadway she regularly performs for the Fantasticks, as well as Amelie. She is the principal harpist of New York Repertory Orchestra, and performs frequently with Albany Symphony Orchestra, TŌN The Orchestra Now and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011 Ms. Parvanova was a harp fellow at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center where she performed under the baton of world renowned conductors, such as Jaap van Zweden, Kurt Masur, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and worked closely with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Charles Wourinen. She has performed at some of the most prestigious venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Seji Ozawa Hall. Ms. Parvanova has premiered works by some of America's most celebrated composers, including Charles Wourinen, Gunther Schuller, Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Boykan, George Tsontakis, and has performed with new music groups, such as Grammy awarded Boston Modern Orchestra Project, as well as Sound Icon. Ms. Parvanova is also featured on recordings with Albany Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Providence Singers. Under a full tuition scholarship, Ms. Parvanova received her Masters and Bachelors Degree from Boston University College of Fine Arts, and The Boston Conservatory.
Leah Liotta is a theater artist and director. She graduated from Yale University with distinction in 2015, where her directing credits included Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, a radical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, and two shows for the Yale Dramatic Association. Leah also studied theater at the Moscow Art Theater School, film at Prague’s FAMU, and apprenticed at the Orchard Project. She’s excited to work with Heartbeat Opera again after production assisting on Queens of the Night. She wants to thank her parents for teaching her early on about the unique power music has to transform and elevate dramatic storytelling.
Peregrine Heard is an actor and the artistic director of The Associates, a devising ensemble that has so far written and performed two original plays. The most recent, Black Protagonist, was nominated for Outstanding Original Script by the New York Innovative Theater Awards. Peregrine has performed at Ars Nova's ANTFest, Ice Factory at the New Ohio, Dixon Place, and The Flea. She holds a BA in East Asian Studies from Yale.
Emma is a choreographer, teacher, and generative artist. In NY, she has choreographed operas for Heartbeat, Loft Opera, and Juilliard SVA. She has worked with U-Theatre in Taiwan, the Natanakairali Institute in India, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, LaMama’s Directors’ Symposium, and the Grotowski-based Teatr Zar in Poland, among others. She is the recipient of multiple fellowships and residencies in the US and abroad to develop original cross-disciplinary work. She is currently running an international collective of artist mothers whose work can be found under #mamaisamaker. She attended the Lecoq school for physical theatre in Paris. www.emmajaster.com
Reid Thompson is a Brooklyn-based scenic designer for plays, musicals, and opera. Previously for Heartbeat Opera: Lucia Di Lammermoor, Dido & Aeneas, Miss Handel, Kafka Fragments, Daphnis & Chloe, The Fairy Queen. Recent NYC credits: Among The Dead and House Rules (Ma-Yi); The Electric Baby (Fordham); Empathitrax (Colt Coeur); Tartuffe (Atlantic Theater School) Dust Can’t Kill Me, Lisa and Leonardo (NYMF 2016); Half Moon Bay (Lesser America); A Delicate Ship (Playwrights Realm). Recent regional: Too Heavy For Your Pocket (Alliance) Into The Woods (Princeton/McCarter); Lucretia (Stony Brook Opera); Little Shop of Horrors, The Homecoming, Bells Are Ringing (Berkshire Theater Festival); Disgraced (Asolo Rep); Fault (Theater Squared); Merrily We Roll Along (Yale Dramat); A Streetcar Named Desire (Yale Rep). Upcoming: Speech & Debate (Barrington Stage) Too Heavy For Your Pocket (Roundabout) Gloria (Asolo Rep). BFA: School of the Art Institute of Chicago; MFA: Yale School of Drama. Reid is a proud member of Wingspace and USA-829. www.reidthompsondesign.com
Valérie Thérèse Bart
Selected credits: RHINOCEROS (The Pearl; dir. Hal Brooks); VANITY FAIR (The Pearl; dir. Eric Tucker); THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS (TFANA, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Guthrie, Arts Emerson Boston, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre; dir. Christopher Bayes); TWELFTH NIGHT and WHAT YOU WILL (Bedlam, Central Square Theatre; dir. Eric Tucker); MACBETH (The Acting Company; dir. Devin Brain); BONES IN THE BASKET (Araca Project; dir. Devin Brain); TINA PACKER’S WOMEN OF WILL (costumes/sets, natl/intl tour; dir. Eric Tucker); SHE, AFTER (costumes/sets, Urban Arias); VOLLEYGIRLS (NYMF); SONG OF A CONVALESCENT AYN RAND... (A.R.T., Joe’s Pub, IRT); DIE FLEDERMAUS, BRAHMS’ LIEBESLIEDER (NYU Steinhardt); GOODBYE NEW YORK, GOODBYE HEART (sets, HERE Arts Center; dir. Oliver Butler); POP! (sets, Yale Repertory Theatre; dir. Mark Brokaw). M.F.A. Yale University School of Drama. Valeriebart.com
Assistant Costume Designer
Caroline Spitzer is an NYC based costume designer. She has assisted on Broadway shows including Shuffle Along, The Front Page, and the current revival of Hello, Dolly! Caroline holds an MFA in costume design from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where she fell in love with opera.
Hair & Make Up Designer
Jon Carter is a hair and makeup designer who works in film, television, and on Broadway. His recent credits include The King and I and Gigi on Broadway, the films Little Men, Complete Unknown, Patti Cake$, A Woman, a Part, and the television series The Breaks, Match Game, A Crime to Remember.
Oliver is thrilled to be back with Heartbeat, having previously designed Lucia di Lammermoor, Dido and Aeneas, Kafka Fragments, Daphnis and Chloe, as well performances on the Highline and at National Sawdust. Recent designs include:Agrippina (Juilliard Opera); Peer Gynt and the Norwegian Hapa Band, Among the Dead(Ma-Yi); Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO); Stones in his Pockets (Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center); Little Shop of Horrors, Bells Are Ringing, A Little Night Music (Berkshire Theater Festival); Wonderland (Atlantic for Kids); peerless (Yale Rep, Barrington Stage); Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep); Empty the House (Curtis Opera).
Jakob W. Plummer
Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George (2017), Oslo, A View From the Bridge (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), The Crucible. Other credits include productions with The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The U.S. Open, TEDTalks, Weston Playhouse, The Actors' Fund, Playhouse Square, Cain Park, The World Science Fair, and Civic Entertainment.
Assistant Stage Manager
Sarah is overjoyed to be working with Heartbeat again! Sarah began working with Heartbeat last year as Assistant Stage Manager for Dido and Aneas. She recently concluded working on Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical at JAGFest, and has also enjoyed working with The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Sierra Repertory Theatre, and The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. Sarah is grateful for the love and support of her super awesome teammate. Love!
Hair & Make-up Artist
Christianne Bakewell is an MFA Costume Design student at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and will be completing her thesis in the fall. She enjoys working with both hair and costume to bring characters to life. Her recent work includes: Into the Woods at Lewis Center for the Arts (Second Costume Assistant/Hair Assistant), Sister Act at Omaha Community Playhouse (Wig Design), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Rutgers Theatre (Costume Design).
Japanese Movement Consultant
Momo Suzuki (Japanese Folk Dance) started studying classical Japanese Dance at the age of seven, with the Fujima School of Yamagata, Japan. She studied traditional Japanese Folk dance at the Toriko Ogawa School under Sensei Ogawa who was also the Folk dance instructor for Japan Victor Corporation. As a member of the Kamioka Japanese Folk Dance Company of Tokyo (as both a student and a teacher) she taught special dance workshops throughout the Tokyo area. After coming to New York in 1983, she performed at La Mama and Marymount theaters with the Hibiki Performing Arts Group. She also performed with Louis Johnson (choreographer for the 'WIZ') at the Henry Street Settlement. In 1992, Ms. Suzuki founded The Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York Inc. to promote and preserve traditional folk dances of Japan. She has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The University of Idaho Jazz Festival (with Lionel Hampton). She has performed at various social, cultural and educational events and is available for booking through Lotus Music & Dance Studios.