Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by L. Illica and G. Giacosa
New arrangement by Daniel Schlosberg
Adapted by Ethan Heard and Jacob Ashworth
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
Explore the Festival
CARMEN // May 21, 23, 25, 27 & 28
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.
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COLLABORET // May 24
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.
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OPENING NIGHT GALA // May 23
Enjoy a double-bill of BUTTERFLY & CARMEN with premium seating and an exclusive prosecco toast at intermission.
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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.