Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Heritage Opera's Puccini Classic Madame Butterfly comes to Epstein Theatre

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: The Epstein Theatre

Heritage Opera, the Northwest’s professional touring opera company, visits the Epstein Theatre for the first time on Saturday 26 September with Puccini’s heart-breaking story of undying love and longing, presented in its own inimitable fashion.

Set in Nagasaki 1925, Madame Butterfly tells the story of Cio Cio San, a naïve girl with passionate dreams of romance who marries Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton of the US Navy. His ideas of marital commitment are somewhat different to hers and he soon leaves her to sail back to America. Cio Cio San waits patiently for him for three years, refusing to acknowledge that she has been abandoned and firmly believing he will one day return to claim her as his wife. At last, Pinkerton’s ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln is seen on the horizon. For Madame Butterfly however there will be no happy ending.

Merseyside-born and raised soprano, Sarah Helsby Hughes directs and sings the lead role of Madame Butterfly and is supported by a professional cast of 10 singers and accompanied by an ensemble of seven musicians.

Sarah went to Maricourt High School in Maghull and, after graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, she worked in Liverpool city centre as a temp. One day, fed up with being stuck in an office on a bright sunny day she decided to try her hand at busking and soon she was singing opera to startled shoppers and office workers. Fast forward 6 years, and Sarah is now Artistic Director of Heritage Opera, the Northwest’s professional touring Opera Company.

Heritage Opera specialises in making opera relevant and accessible for everyone and they have taken opera to places neglected by other companies. Heritage Opera is also very proud of its Northern roots and another of its artistic aims is to employ northern-based singers and musicians wherever possible. This Madame Butterfly tour boasts 9 of 10 singers and 6 of 7 musicians who either live in or have strong historic ties to the North.

Sarah Helsby Hughes, director and performer at Heritage Opera, commented: "We're delighted to be performing at The Epstein, who'd have thought I'd be bringing my own opera company home to Liverpool, all those years after years of busking just round the corner! I do hope the Liverpool public come and support us."

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