First Look: Santa Fe Opera’s World Premiere of Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s M. BUTTERFLY Starring Kangmin Justin Kim and Mark Stone

Kangmin Justin Kim (Song Liling), Mark Stone (René Gallimard) in “M. Butterfly 蝴蝶君.” Photo by Curtis Brown for the Santa Fe Opera

M. BUTTERFLY 蝴蝶君 Love has no boundaries. Rounding out the Santa Fe Opera’s 2022 Season is the world premiere of Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly on July 30, 2022. The piece is the company’s 18th world premiere, further building upon a long legacy of commissioning new works. It is based upon Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play of the same name, inspired by the true story of a French diplomat who carried on a 20-year love affair with a star of the Peking Opera who has an astonishing secret. The story’s many parallels with Puccini’s well-known Madama Butterfly are echoed in the new opera’s music which has itself been an iconic work at the Santa Fe Opera, having opened all three theaters in 1957, 1968 and 1998. In many ways, M. Butterfly is a logical progression for the Santa Fe Opera, honoring the company’s history while championing new operatic works. René Gallimard, a civil servant at the French embassy in Beijing, falls in love with a beautiful Chinese opera singer named Song Liling. Song holds two shocking secrets, both of which eventually bring Gallimard professional and personal ruin. David Henry Hwang’s Broadway smash hit is transformed into operatic form in collaboration with composer Huang Ruo. 

Kangmin Justin Kim (Song Liling), Mark Stone (René Gallimard) in “M. Butterfly 蝴蝶君,” photo by Curtis Brown for the Santa Fe Opera

M. Butterfly
is staged by James Robinson and the same creative team that prepared the Santa Fe Opera’s widely praised American premiere of Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 2014, including Allen Moyer (scenic design), James Schuette (costume design) and Chris Akerlind (lighting design). Greg Emetaz will serve as the projections designer. Their gripping production captures the lyricism of Huang Ruo’s music and reveals the blurred lines between fantasy and reality. Maestra Carolyn Kuan, Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, returns to the Santa Fe Opera podium. Baritone Mark Stone sings the role of René Gallimard. Countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim* (Song Liling) and mezzo-soprano Hongni Wu* (Comrade Chin/Shu Fang) make exciting company debuts. Tenor and former Santa Fe Opera Apprentice singer Joshua Dennis creates the role of Marc and Santa Fe Opera audience favorite Kevin Burdette performs the roles of Manuel Toulon and the Judge. Susanne Sheston is the Chorus Master.

Composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang following the world premiere preview of their new opera, M. BUTTERFLY at the Asia Society on November 19, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Librettist David Henry Hwang writes, “When Huang Ruo and I began looking for our next project together, it seemed time to finally embark upon my dream of bringing M. Butterfly back to the world of opera, which in many ways strikes me as its most natural home. I am grateful to the Santa Fe Opera for investing the time, resources and artistic support necessary to develop and realize this work. Because opera is the most theatrical of stage forms, one which most effectively facilitates an audiences’ suspension of disbelief, Huang Ruo and I believe it will allow this story to take wing more beautifully and powerfully than ever before.”

5 Performances — July 30; August 3, 12, 18 & 24 Sung in English with opera titles in English and Spanish

Production support generously provided by: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Agnes Hsu-Tang & Oscar Tang—Tang Fund, and Edward & Betsy Cohen – The Aretê Foundation

The engagement of James Robinson is supported by: Douglas Dockery Thomas

Original production support generously provided by: The Marineau Family Foundation, Linda Pierce, and The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation

The Santa Fe Opera Chorus & Orchestra

*Santa Fe Opera debut

2022 SEASON INFORMATION Performance Start Times*: July 1 — July 30, 8:30 PM | August 1 — August 27, 8:00 PM

2022 Tickets & Subscriptions Tickets for the 2022 Season are now on sale. Make purchases or learn more at or by calling the Box Office at 505-986-5900 (toll-free at 800-280-4654) between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm MT Monday through Friday. No in-person purchases are available at this time.

Apprentice Scenes Staged scenes from the operatic repertory showcasing the remarkable talent of Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singers and Technicians will be presented on two consecutive Sunday evenings, August 14 and 21, 2022. One of the best entertainment values of the summer at $15 for Adults and $5 for youth (ages 6-22). Make purchases or learn more at or by calling the Box Office at 505-986-5900 (toll-free at 800-280-4654) between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm MT Monday through Friday. No in-person purchases are available at this time.

Discounted Ticket Programs The Santa Fe Opera is pleased to offer discounted day-of ticket programs for seniors, students and military. To learn more please call the Box Office at 505-986-5900 (toll-free at 800-280-4654) between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm MT Monday through Friday. No in-person purchases are available at this time. The Santa Fe Opera will continue its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its staff, artists and audiences. Meya noted, “We anticipate requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to The Crosby Theatre.” It is expected that all audience members will be required to wear a mask. The company is currently reviewing all additional activities including Prelude Talks, Preview Dinners, Shuttles, Backstage Tours and Family Nights, to determine what can be offered while still ensuring safety. As plans progress for the 2022 Season and events are added to the calendar, updates will be made to the opera’s dedicated Health and Safety webpage.

About The Santa Fe Opera The Santa Fe Opera annually draws 85,000 people from New Mexico and around the globe. Nestled atop a mountain vista in northern New Mexico, the company’s iconic Crosby Theatre is open on three sides, allowing visitors to enjoy performances complemented by the elements. Since 1957 the company has presented over 2,000 performances of 177 operas by 90 composers spanning five centuries of opera, creating a legacy of 45 American premieres and 17 world premieres.

The mission of the Santa Fe Opera is to advance the operatic art form by presenting ensemble performances of the highest quality in a unique setting with a varied repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works; to ensure the excellence of opera’s future through apprentice programs for singers, technicians and arts administrators; and to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public. Asia Society and the Santa Fe Opera Present David Henry Hwang and Huang Ruo’s M. BUTTERFLY Opera Working Rehearsal 

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker 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. Her short film, When the World Was Young, written and directed by Garth Kravits, recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. As an actor, Lia made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald, and was featured as Joy in Signature Theatre Company’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1965 Obie award winning play, Chicago directed by Joseph Chaikin at the Public Theater. Off Broadway credits include: Once Upon A (korean) Time (EST), Jeff Weiss’ Obie Award winning Hot Keys (Naked Angels), Raunchy Asian Women (Ohio Theatre), The Confirmation (The Vineyard), Behind Closed Doors (MCC), Power Play (Billie Holiday Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Underground Soap, and Famine Plays (Cucaracha Theatre), Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau at the Castillo Theatre (New Federal Theatre).

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2022 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. 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 

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