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By Julia Ford-Carther, Gusman Center

Miami Lyric Opera (MLO) returned to the Olympia Theater stage last month for the company’s second Red Curtain Series presentation. Artistic and general director Raffaele Cardone brought some of opera’s most promising rising stars and recognized voices to downtown Miami for a rendition of Madama Butterfly, one of the most celebrated and beloved operas written.

The classic Madama Butterfly is Puccini’s story of tradition, romance, yearning, and sacrifice. MLO and its leading cast overwhelmed Miami with a heartfelt performance. As SouthFloridaClassicalReview.com recounted, “Miami Lyric Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly delivered enough authentic Puccini pathos Saturday that there was sobbing in the audience by the second act.”

Soprano Daniella Carvalho delighted as 15-year-old Cio Cio San, while Raymundo Antomarchi held his own as Pinkerton, the opportunistic American Navy Officer who weds the young Geisha before abandoning her for years. Lissette Jimenez supported well as Suzuki, as did Graham Fandrei as Sharpless, Rebekah Diaz as Kate Pinkerton, Eduardo Valdez as Goro, and Diego Baner as Zio Bonzo.

Butterfly marked MLO’s return Red Curtain Series appearance, with their first being Lucia di Lammermoor in April of this year. Opera lovers will have one more chance to see MLO at the Olympia Theater this summer. In August, Cardone and his company return for some comic relief with Barber of Seville, Gioachino Rossini’s humorous story of Count Almaviva and Rosina who try to be together against all odds. Problems arise when Rosina’s guardian, Doctor Bartolo, attempts to keep her away from suitors with the hopes of marrying her himself and acquiring her considerable dowry.

In slapstick fashion, the Count (to be played by David Pereira) has to assume several disguises with the help of his former servant Figaro (the titular barber and the role carried by Nelson Martinez) to secretly woo Rosina. Lissette Jimenez will lead as Rosina, while Stefano de Peppo will take the stage as Don Bartolo, and Carlos Conde will play Don Basilio. Touted as one of opera’s top comedies, MLO’s Barber of Seville will surely delight Miami’s theater-loving audience.

Miami Lyric Opera presents “Barber of Seville,” a Red Curtain Series event held at the Olympia Theater at Gusman Center on Saturday, August 18, 8:00PM, and Sunday, August 19, 4:00PM. Tickets on sale at www.gusmancenter.org/events.

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