Tuesday, February 23, 2016

LA Opera Talk: Madame Butterfly

SUNDAY, March 20th 2:00 p.m.

Guided by L.A. Opera Community Educator Larry Verdugo, follow this heartbreaking story which begins as an idyllic liaison in an enchanting land of cherry blossoms, and then turns into the tragedy of an abandoned bride forced to make an excruciating decision. The stunning LA Opera production melds sumptuous costumes with evocative period scenery. Even if making the performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is out of the question, one can experience the story and history of the production at Crowell Library.

In 1906, Giacomo Puccini’s Madam Butterfly premiered at La Scala in Milan, Italy. Famously, it was a total failure, one of the most scandalous moments in operatic history. After a number of revisions, the opera was re-launched and has remained a favorite with audiences since. The reasons for its longevity are many: its touching story, exotic setting and theatrical color are, of course, obvious reasons. But no doubt, it is the beauty of Puccini’s music that gives Madam Butterfly its enduring appeal. Examining the current culture, shadows of the opera’s themes and imagery resonate in art, literature, theater and film. Mr. Verdugo will use videos that feature excerpts from the opera, related films and slides that illustrate key points. The audience will surely find these colorful and entertaining -- a little sad, too.

Larry Verdugo is a retired social worker who has been an opera enthusiast since his teens, collecting recordings and enjoying live performances, as well. Upon retirement, he joined L.A. Opera League, the volunteer arm of LAO and is now on the League’s board, organizing volunteers and staffing many educational events held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Larry enjoys his role as a Community Educator, speaking for LAO about opera and promoting its pleasures. Opera truly has something for everyone. Come early as seats are limited, but free at Crowell Public Library.