It’s in the job description: there will be surprises.
It’s Friday afternoon, the day before the opening of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. On-stage, there’s a matinee of Die Fledermaus; backstage, Butterfly’s cast and crew work to compensate for a missed rehearsal.
Earlier in the week, a polar vortex pummeled the city with heavy snows and record-low temperatures. In an almost unprecedented move, Lyric Opera of Chicago shut down for a day, cancelling the Butterfly rehearsal.
Lyric’s Madama Butterfly opens (again) on Saturday with newly-arrived principals Patricia Racette and Stefano Secco. They are part of what’s called a split cast, which spreads the opera’s run over four months, and gives the company an opportunity to highlight different singers (Butterfly first opened in October with Amanda Echalaz and James Valenti in the lead roles).
Though she’s lost an important rehearsal, Patricia Racette seems undaunted. After changing out of her kimono – a final costume fitting – she bursts into the backstage area, greeting old friends (Sir Andrew Davis included) and declares, “I miss the cold!”
In an interview with WFMT’s Noel Morris, the star soprano admits that having sung Cio-Cio-San dozens of times makes it easier to roll with the punches on-stage, even as her connection to the character grows deeper:
Madama Butterfly continues at Lyric Opera of Chicago through January.