On April 17 and 19, Boheme Opera New Jersey will mount a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s enduring Madame Butterfly in the expansive Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial. With a history of legendary singers and performances, this acoustically sound and visually stunning hall is the perfect place for one to experience opera for the first time. The story about a young geisha’s love for an American military officer and his country is contemporary, relevant and a perfect vehicle for the opera novice. Boheme’s come-as-you-are stance has always been enticing, and discounts for students and groups have made the opera experience more affordable than ever.

Madame Butterfly is one of those operas that taps into the heart, the mind and the soul. There are tremendous cultural and moral issues, social comments and of course, heart-wrenching music that speaks to audiences from the very first note. The power of this work is not only the story and its unique characters, but the way in which Puccini draws us into the world he himself discovered. It is up front and personal, and he wants you to feel the emotions of this delicate and naive 15-year-old geisha. She will rob your senses from the very beginning — and that is what opera is about.

Today’s 21st Century public is looking more than ever for new and affordable experiences to stretch their dollars and share precious discretionary time. The extraordinary economic climate in which we currently find ourselves could easily be material for a modern-day opera. The art form has been reinvented, made more accessible and affordable than ever, particularly at the regional level. Boheme Opera New Jersey is a testament to that, having performed for two decades to loyal and diverse audiences, growing its resources and quality while maintaining modest budgets and ticket prices.

This new production of Madame Butterfly is updated to post World War II, to a time when Japan was coming into a new age, when some were willing to embrace the future for power, some for pleasure — and one passionate geisha, for love.

Boheme’s rendition will play upon the human pathos and touching moments that set a complex situation into motion. It will accomplish this with a company of outstanding emerging artists, creative directors and designers and a genuine commitment to connecting with audiences.

In the scheme of things musically theatrical, opera has been attracting record numbers of young passionate artists, graduating from the finest U.S. opera institutions, flooding the national opera circuit in search of auditions, management, first professional roles and career bridges. In fact, Boheme Opera is known for its career bridging opportunities — from merging hard-working students and professionals on its stage to offering debut roles to established artists on the opera circuit. To this growing contingent of singers, opera is alive and well, despite the effects of current external forces.

For Boheme devotees, this is a quintessential work in its repertoire. But for those who have never witnessed a Boheme production, or who have never witnessed live opera, you owe it to yourself to join us for the new soap on stage – a truly memorable look at life and love as you may never have imagined.

Boheme Opera New Jersey presents Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, conducted by Joseph Pucciatti, directed by Reegan McKenzie, starring soprano Teresa Eickel as Cio-Cio-San and tenor Mauricio Trejo O’Reilly as Pinkerton on April 17 at 8 p.m., and April 19 at 3 p.m. at Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial. Pre-curtain talks, English supertitles.

Funding made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. For tickets call 609-581-7200 weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the door. For more details go to www.bohemeopera.com.

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