Asia Society and the Santa Fe Opera Present David Henry Hwang and Huang Ruo’s M. BUTTERFLY Opera Working Rehearsal

Asia Society’s inaugural Contemporary Art Triennial of Asia, in partnership with the Santa Fe Opera, kicked off its pre-opening programming on Nov 20, 2019 with a sold-out exclusive world preview of the much anticipated new opera M. Butterfly.

Met Opera 2019 National Council Auditions Winner William Guanbo Su, Asia Society Vice President of Global Arts and Cultural Programs and Director Boon Hui Tan and Asia Society Triennial Executive Chairman Agnes Hsu-Tang, PhD with members of the Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors including (from left to right) Barbara & Chuck Moore, Bruce Chemel, Board President-Elect David Henry Jacobs, and Kevin & Dannehl Twomey. Photo by Lia Chang

Executive Chair of the Art Triennial, Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and her husband, Oscar Tang, a trustee of Asia Society, hosted a pre-performance reception for a delegation of board members from the Santa Fe Opera at the Asia Society in New York.  Many board members from the Met Opera and Asia Society, including Betsy Cohen, Met Opera Treasurer and Asia Society Vice Chair, and her husband Ed Cohen, the President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic Deborah Borda, Met Opera’s Assistant General Manager Diane Zola, and President of the Juilliard School, Damian Woetzel, were also in attendance.

Composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang following the world premiere preview of their new opera, M. BUTTERFLY, set to premiere on August 1, 2020 at the Santa Fe Opera. Photo by Lia Chang

Based on Hwang’s 1988 Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer-Prize finalist Broadway play, M. Butterfly is the story of René Gallimard, a French diplomat who carried on a 20-year love affair with Song Liling, a Peking opera star with an astonishing secret that leads to Gallimard’s professional and personal ruin. The story’s many parallels with Puccini’s well-known Madama Butterfly are echoed in the new opera’s music, composed by the celebrated young Chinese American composer Huang Ruo. The working rehearsal featured Conductor Susanne Sheston and pianist John Arida.

Countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim sings the role of Song Liling, and will make his Santa Fe Opera debut in the world premiere of M. BUTTERFLY next summer. Photo by Lia Chang

Kangmin Justin Kim (countertenor) and Michael Hawk (baritone) star as Song Liling and René Gallimard respectively. The cast also features Hera Hyesang Park as Comrade Chin/Shu Fang, Joshua Dennis as Marc, Adrian Rosas as Manuel Toulon/Judge. The ensemble features Stephen Carroll, Hayan Kim, Seiyoung Kim, Nicolas Martorano, Nate Mattingly, Jana McIntyre, Elliott Paige, Heather Petrie Elizabeth Picker, Rachel Policar, Jarrett Porter and Kathleen Reveille.

M. BUTTERFLY composer Huang Ruo (left) and librettist David Henry Hwang (right) with BD Wong, recipient of the Tony Award for his portrayal of Song Liling in the Broadway production, and the countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim who will be singing the role in the Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere next summer. Photo by Lia Chang

Huang Ruo’s (composer) first collaboration with The Santa Fe Opera was the American premiere of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, his first opera, in 2014. Admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory at age twelve, Chinese-born Huang Ruo moved to the U.S. to continue his education, earning a BM from Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music and MM and DMA degrees from Juilliard. Now a U.S. citizen, The New Yorker cited Huang Ruo as “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers.” His writing spans orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and modern dance to sound installation, multimedia, folk rock, and film. Reflecting his life story, he strives to create a seamless integration between Eastern and Western elements, integrating influences from Chinese folk, Western avant-garde, rock, and jazz to create a seamless, organic whole.

Librettist David Henry Hwang, who wrote the original Broadway play, narrates musical excerpts from the new opera M. BUTTERFLY, set to have its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera on August 1, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang’s (librettist) stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, and the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also America’s most-produced living American opera librettist (two Grammy Awards), and co-wrote the Gold Record Solo with the late pop icon Prince. Since 2015, he has been a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series “The Affair”. Hwang serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts, and as Chair of the American Theatre Wing. His newest work, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, received its New York premiere this fall at the Public Theater.

BD Wong, Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang with her husband and Asia Society trustee, Oscar Tang. Photo by Lia Chang

The world premiere preview of M. Butterfly is a collaboration between Asia Society and the Santa Fe Opera and is developed with assistance from the American Lyric Theater, Lawrence Edelson, Founder and Producing Artistic Director,  and with generous support from Agnes Hsu-Tang PhD and Oscar Tang.

Asia Society Triennial Executive Chair and Met Opera Managing Director Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, with fellow Met Opera Managing Director, Douglas Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang
Asia Society Vice President and Museum Director Boon Hui Tan, former Sotheby’s Vice Chairman for Chinese Art and Member of Triennial Steering Committee, Mee-Seen Loong, and Met Opera board member Sharon Wee. Photo by Lia Chang
Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang with Met Opera and Met Museum trustee, Marina French. Photo by Lia Chang
Met Opera Chair of Executive Committee Bill Morris, with former Met Opera President and CEO, Judith-Ann Corrente, and her husband Wim Kooyker, a former Asia Society trustee. Photo by Lia Chang
Santa Fe Opera Board Chairman Susan F. Morris with Cynthia Sculco, Cindy Aloi and Santa Fe Opera Board President Susan G. Marineau. Photo by Lia Chang
Santa Fe Opera Board members Miranda Lind and Fred Haas with Rafael Gomez and Shoshanna Conway. Photo by Lia Chang
Asia Society Vice President of Global Arts and Cultural Programs and Director Boon Hui Tan welcomes the audience to the preview of M. BUTTERFLY, set to receive its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera on August 1, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang
Santa Fe Opera General Director Robert K. Meya welcomes the audience to the preview of M. BUTTERFLY, set to receive its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera on August 1, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang
Santa Fe Opera Chorus Master Susanne Sheston conducts the world premiere preview of M. BUTTERFLY, with (from left to right) tenor Joshua Dennis, bass Adrian Rosas, baritone Michael Hawk (standing), soprano Hera Hyesang Park, countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim, and pianist John Arida. Photo by Lia Chang
Baritone Michael Hawk, who will cover the role of René Gallimard sings musical excerpts from the new opera M. BUTTERFLY, which will have its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera next summer. Photo by Lia Chang
Conductor Susanne Sheston is flanked on her right by tenor Joshua Dennis, bass Adrian Rosas, baritone Michael Hawk, soprano Hera Hyesang Park and countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim. Photo by Lia Chang
Following the working rehearsal, Agnes Hsu-Tang, PhD moderates a Q&A with (from left to right) librettist David Henry Hwang, countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim, composer Huang Ruo and stage director James Robinson. Photo by Lia Chang
Following the working rehearsal, Agnes Hsu-Tang, PhD moderates a Q&A with (from left to right) librettist David Henry Hwang, countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim, composer Huang Ruo and stage director James Robinson. Photo by Lia Chang
Asia Society Triennial Executive Chairman Agnes Hsu-Tang, PhD with (from left to right) composer Huang Ruo, librettist David Henry Hwang, countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim and stage director James Robinson. Photo by Lia Chang
Countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim and mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo, who will be singing the roles of Song Liling in the world premiere of M. Butterfly and Rosina in The Barber of Seville, respectively, at the Santa Fe Opera next summer. Photo by Lia Chang

The World Premiere of M. Butterfly will take place at the Santa Fe Opera on August 1, 2020, with subsequent performances on August 5, 14, 19 and 26, 2020. Click here for tickets for M. Butterfly.

Asia Society Triennial

Broadwayworld: Photo Flash: Asia Society And The Santa Fe Opera Present David Henry Hwang And Huang Ruo’s M. BUTTERFLY Opera Working Rehearsal 

Broadwayworld: Photo Flash: New-York Historical Society Presents Excerpts Of David Henry Hwang And Huang Ruo’s Opera, AN AMERICAN SOLDIER

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s