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January 2014
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Backstage Exclusive: Lyric’s Butterfly Patricia Racette

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It’s in the job description: there will be surprises.

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Madama Butterfly opens (again) on Saturday night with new principals Patricia Racette and Stefano Secco. The production has what’s called a split cast, spreading the opera’s run across a longer period and giving the company an opportunity to highlight different singers. Butterfly opened in October with Amanda Echalaz and James Valenti; now after a ten-week hiatus the show is back.

It’s in the job description: with tens of thousands of variables, there will be surprises. All company personnel are at the ready to adjust and solve problems. This last week when temperatures plunged into record territory, Lyric shut down for a day. An important rehearsal was cancelled. By Friday, the opening was one day away, the temperature had risen 50 degrees; and knee-deep snow had liquefied. Patricia Racette stopped by the opera house to try on her kimono—a final costume fitting for Puccini’s main character Cio-Cio-San. Afterwards she burst into the backstage area, hugging old friends (Sir Andrew Davis included); and declared, “I miss the cold!” She’s unconcerned about the lost rehearsal. WFMT’s Noel Morris spoke with her during an intermission of Die Fledermaus about Butterfly, and getting the show off the ground.

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Madama Butterfly continues at Lyric Opera of Chicago through January.

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