Puccini’s Suzuki, Sometimes Silence Can Be Eloquent

Madama Butterfly...a tragic west meets east story!

suzuki

Photo: Heltzel

Sarah Heltzel-- a mezzo who can play a dominating temptress, a bored aristocrat, a gushing boy-- now the mostly quiet supportive Suzuki.

Event Information

Madama Butterfly

Puccini opera with a tragic East meets West story


Clowes Memorial Hall Butler University Indianapolis, IN

Fri 9/23 at 8 and Sun 9/25 at 2, 2011

The Indianapolis Opera presents Madama Butterfly at Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall, the evening on September 23 and the afternoon of the 25th.

Puccini’s opera is a tragic East-meets-West story. The heroine, Cio-Cio San, abandons her faith and her heritage for the dashing but feckless American sailor, Lieutenant Pinkerton. In the end, she sacrifices herself for their child.

A Mezzo From A Musical Family

Mezzo soprano Sarah Heltzel sings the role of Cio-Cio San’s faithful Suzuki. She’s from Gloucester, Massachusetts and comes from a musical family. “We all played and sang. In college I took the usual broad range of liberal arts classes, and was encouraged to sing professionally.”

Lots Of Styles, But Opera Won Out!

Although there are a lot of different styles for singers, Heltzel chose opera. “It just brought together so many of my interests, languages, visual arts, theatre. As Wagner says, it’s gesamtkunstwerk–the total artwork.”

A New Role From A New Part Of The Globe

Heltzel is a veteran of roles as varied as the Bizet’s temptress Carmen, Strauss’s bored Prince Orlovsky and Mozart’s innocent Cherubino. They’re each different, but all definitely western. Suzuki is definitely eastern, it’s  a new role this season, and it has unique challenges. “She’s quite special,” Heltzel says.

A Role That’s More Acting Than Singing

“Suzuki is on stage for almost the entire opera. It’s in part through her devotion that the audience comes to feel so strongly for Butterfly. She doesn’t sing a lot, but when she and Butterfly sing their joyous flower song, it’s glorious music.”

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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