Jee Hyun Lim Leads ‘Madame Butterfly’ Cast for Opera Opener

Jee Hyun LimCelebrated soprano Jee Hyun Lim leads the cast as Nashville Opera opens its 2012-13 season with Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Performances are set for Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. in Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall (505 Deaderick St.).

John Hoomes, Nashville Opera’s General and Artistic Director, directs the two performances. The Nashville Symphony performs the score under the baton of Maestro William Boggs.

The cast of renowned principal opera singers includes Lim as Cio-Cio San, tenor Cody Austin as Lieutenant Pinkerton and baritone Levi Hernandez as Sharpless. Amy Tate Williams, Chorusmaster/Accompanist, leads the 38-person Nashville Opera Ensemble.

The story is one of opera’s most memorable tales: Japanese geisha Cio-Cio San, aka “Butterfly,” abandons her faith and family for the dashing American sailor Pinkerton. His love is sadly temporary and Cio-Cio San pays the ultimate price for her selfless devotion.

Madame Butterfly continues to be one of the most popular works in the canon of opera because the drama and music are still relevant today,” says Hoomes. “The themes, score, and the raw emotions presented in this masterpiece still create a visceral experience for audiences nearly a hundred years after its premiere.”

Ms. Lim opened the New York City Opera season in 2005 as the title role in Madame Butterfly, and has performed the role in David Freeman’s award winning production at Royal Albert Hall, Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Santiago, Chile, and most recently in a ground breaking new production with San Antonio Opera.  Other recent performances of Madame Butterfly include productions with the Austin Lyric Opera, Syracuse Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Chautauqua Opera, the New York City Opera tour in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan, and in Dublin with Lyric Opera Productions.

Tickets ($26-$102.50; Nashville Opera also offers a Pay-What-You-Can option) are available by calling Nashville Opera at (615) 832-5242, the TPAC Box Office at (615) 782-4040, or online at www.nashvilleopera.org. The opera is sung in Italian with projected English translations. Patrons are invited to attend the free Opera Insights discussion led by Mr. Hoomes one hour prior to curtain in Jackson Hall. Story outlines, behind-the-scenes videos, and a detailed study guide are available the company’s website. The Nashville Opera Guild will host a Madame Butterfly-themed dinner at the Sheraton Downtown Nashville Hotel starting at 5:30 PM on Saturday, Oct. 13. The fundraising event is priced at $100 per person and reservations are available by calling Nashville Opera.

*Photo of Jee Hyun Lim courtesy Robert Gilder & Co.

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