Pittsburgh Opera opens its 80th season with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, set in early 1900s Japan, this tragic love story tells the events of the innocent and naive geisha Cio-Cio San and the callous US naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton. While Cio-Cio San is still a teenager she forsakes her family, heritage, and religion for Pinkerton. But what she considers to be true love, he considers a casual fling. Cio-Cio San clings to the increasingly unrealistic belief that Pinkerton will return to her.
American tenor Cody Austin has quickly become one of the most promising singers singing actors of his age and you can witness his talents as US Naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton in Pittsburgh Opera’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ on stage October 6, 9, 12 & 14.
Specifically, cast for this role, Cody’s voice has been described as “a warm, rich quality… produced with an evenness that’s rare.” He sang with the Pittsburgh Opera years ago in ‘La Traviata.’
What do you feel you are bringing to the portrayal of Lieutenant Pinkerton?
It fits very well for me vocally; I try to understand Pinkerton’s perspective – naive, a bit arrogant, culturally “superior” in his own mind.
What was your favorite aria from this opera and why?
Un bel di’ (a beautiful day) – it is such a beautiful song, full of innocence and strength.
What do you like best about this role?
I enjoy trying to get the audience to really like Pinkerton, then end up really hating him! If I get “boos” at the curtain call, I’ve portrayed him accurately. I love that he goes through so many different emotions. I don’t see him as one-dimensional. He is the one who changes the most throughout the opera.
How do Operas and Musicals differ in your opinion?
Everything is sung in opera, no spoken lines. The singers in musicals typically use microphones, but there is usually no amplification in opera. The classical style of singing requires a different technique than musical theater.
Madama Butterfly will be Conducted by music director Antony Walker and directed by Linda Brovsky, and feature the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
Madama Butterfly is unparalleled in its deeply affecting portrayal of love, betrayal, and sacrifice. Adult tickets start at just $14 and children’s tickets ages 6-18 are $7 available online @ https://opera.culturaldistrict.org/production/55428/list_performances.