Madama Butterfly


Conducted by George Manahan
Directed by E. Loren Meeker

One of the most powerful operas of all time.

Madama Butterfly is the story of a young wife and mother named Cio-Cio-San, in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1904. She awaits the return of her beloved B.F. Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. When his ship finally does come in, her dreams for the future break along with her heart.

“An idealistic, Japanese girl falls for a brash, entitled American soldier whose actions turn her love into a story ending in exploitation, betrayal, and abandonment. Puccini’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly forces American audiences to consider our history, culture, and the unknown victims of our past foreign policy. Our goal within a traditional setting is to honor Japanese culture through insightful storytelling and modern characterization. This creates an environment where we can examine the harsh realities of our past in an effort to learn from our mistakes at global, national, and personal levels.” – E. Loren Meeker, Director


Performed in Italian with English captions.
Approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes with one intermission.

Classic sets and costumes honor tradition on the grandest scale in our season. Internationally acclaimed Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura makes her U.S. debut as our heroine.

Listen for the famous aria “Un Bel Di Vedremo” and The Humming Chorus: one of the most beautiful aural landscapes in the world of opera.


Looking for dining options, directions, or more information? Create your opera experience with the assistance of our Portland Opera Concierge: | 503-241-1407

Join us one hour before curtain for a discussion providing context and unique insights into the world of the opera. After the performance join company members and guests from the production, for a post-show conversation.

Tickets available from $35. View seating map for Keller Auditorium.


The performance of Madama Butterfly on October 27, 2019 at 2 PM will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance is translated with English text projected above the stage. If you require wheelchair, ADA, or companion seating, please let our Patron Services team know when you purchase tickets, so that we can ensure your visit to the opera is an excellent one.


We recognize that there is a complicated set of factors surrounding both the history of and the act of producing Madama Butterfly today, that includes Japanese and American relations, Japanese American experiences, United States military history, power, representation, privilege, and more. As we develop our work onstage with this production, we also seek to cultivate platforms and additional public programming opportunities to enhance community dialogue and context surrounding this piece. If you’d like to contact our team please email

Madama Butterfly Preview: All Classical Portland’s Thursdays @ Three

Hear the archived preview of Madama Butterfly, featuring performances by tenor Luis Chapa (B.F. Pinkerton) and Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox. LISTEN

Context & Conversation: Puccini, Madama Butterfly, and Honoring Tradition
Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 7 PM

Hampton Opera Center | 211 SE Caruthers St.
Free admission. Reservations are recommended.
503.421.1802 |

Join Portland Opera in welcoming special guest speakers Dr. Kunio Hara (Associate Professor of Music History at the University of South Carolina) and Dr. Laura Mueller (Portland Japanese Garden) for an evening of insights and conversation, in preparation for the opening of Madama Butterfly. The program will be an hour, followed by a question and discussion session.

East & West: A Special Evening of Song
Tuesday, October 29, 2019 | 7 PM

Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum | 1219 SW Park Ave.
Free Admission.  Reservations highly recommended. 
503.421.1802 |

Join Portland Opera for a unique musical program, featuring guest artists and members of the Madama Butterfly company. The selections will explore influence and musical cross-pollination between the East and the West. The evening will include an aria from An American Dream (music by Jack Perla and libretto by Jessica Murphy Moo), a contemporary chamber opera that reflects on the experiences of WWII-era Japanese Americans who were persecuted and imprisoned by the United States government.

Featuring: Nina Yoshida Nelsen, Karl Marx Reyes, André Chiang, and Helen Huang. Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox as pianist. Ningning Jin as guest violinist.

Madama Butterfly | 19/20 Season


Cio-Cio-San, Madama Butterfly
Hiromi Omura

Lt. Pinkerton
Luis Chapa

Nina Yoshida

Troy Cook

Karl Reyes

Prince Yamadori/The Imperial Commissioner
André Chiang

The Bonze
Peixin Chen

Kate Pinkerton
Camille Sherman

Sorrow (Cio-Cio-San’s child)
Vivienne Esmè Muir
Suri Park


George Manahan

E. Loren Meeker

Lighting Designer
Mark McCullough

Japanese Movement & Cultural Advisor
Momo Suzuki