San Francisco Opera Presents Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly, November 6-December 4

Release date: 10/12/2016    

Armenian Soprano Lianna Haroutounian Stars as Cio-Cio-San; American Debut of Italian Tenor Vincenzo Costanzo as B.F. Pinkerton

Jun Kaneko's Compelling Production; Maestro Yves Abel Conducts

MADAMA BUTTERFLY.pdf  Photos Available 

San Francisco Opera’s 2016–17 Season continues with ten performances of Giacomo Puccini’s heartbreaking drama Madama Butterfly, November 6 through December 4 at the War Memorial Opera House. The cast will feature the much-anticipated American debut of young Italian tenor Vincenzo Costanzo as Lt. B.F. Pinkerton and return of Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian as the tragic heroine, Cio-Cio-San. Jun Kaneko’s colorful and compelling production, last seen in San Francisco during the 2013–14 Season, will be directed by Leslie Swackhamer and Maestro Yves Abel conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

At her 2014 Company debut in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, the San Francisco Chronicle hailed Lianna Haroutounian as “phenomenal” and observed, “You could listen to her singing Puccini’s music all night long, and marvel at the beauty, precision and power that she packed into every measure of the performance.” Along with recent triumphs as Leonora in Il Trovatore at London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Amelia in Simon Boccanegra at the Metropolitan Opera, Haroutounian’s Cio-Cio-San at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam earlier this year was hailed by Opera Today: “As many Puccini fans as possible need to hear her in it. In fact, opera fans of all types need to hear Ms. Haroutounian in any of her roles—hers is one of the major voices of our time.”

Making his first operatic appearances in the United States, Italian tenor Vincenzo Costanzo will perform Lt. B. F. Pinkerton, a role for which he has received acclaim for his “beautiful tenor voice, soft of timbre and richly nuanced” (OperaClick) in many of Italy’s opera houses, including La Fenice in Venice, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, and in Florence, Modena, Piacenza and Salerno. Since his professional debut in 2013, Costanzo has worked with many distinguished conductors and directors including Daniel Oren, Myung-whun Chung, Franco Zeffirelli and Liliana Cavani in his fast-rising international career.

Completing the brilliant ensemble cast are American baritone Anthony Clark Evans in his first performances with the Company as Sharpless, mezzo-soprano and current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Zanda Švēde is Suzuki, tenor Julius Ahn is Goro and bass Raymond Aceto portrays The Bonze. Current Adler Fellows baritone Edward Nelson as Prince Yamadori, bass-baritone Matthew Stump as the Imperial Commissioner and soprano Julie Adams as Kate Pinkerton are also featured.

French-Canadian conductor Yves Abel, who first bowed with San Francisco Opera in 1996 conducting the Company premiere of Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, returns to lead the cast and Orchestra in Puccini’s beloved work. Company Resident Conductor Jordi Bernàcer conducts the final performance on December 4. Ian Robertson is Chorus Director. The creative team includes lighting designer Gary Marder, choreographer Melissa Noble and fight director Dave Maier.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the ten performances of Madama Butterfly are scheduled for November 6 (2:00 p.m.), November 9 (7:30 p.m.), November 12 (7:30 p.m.), November 15 (7:30 p.m.), November 18 (7:30 p.m.), November 22 (7:30 p.m.), November 26 (7:30 p.m.), November 29 (7:30 p.m.), December 1 (7:30 p.m.) and December 4 (2 p.m.).


Tickets for Madama Butterfly are priced from $26 to $397 (subject to change) and may be purchased at or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue or by phone at (415) 864-3330. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only, and limited to two tickets per person.

The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances. The War Memorial Opera House is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For more public transportation information, visit and

Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change. For further information about Madama Butterfly and San Francisco Opera’s 2016–17 Season, please visit

For the complete press release and calendar listing, please view the attached PDF.