Opera Scotland

Madam Butterfly 2023Dnipro Opera (Ukrainian National Opera)

Read more about the opera Madama Butterfly

The city of Dnipro has suffered several bombardments during the Russian invasion of Ukraine so it did perhaps seem surprising that members of their opera company should be able to escape abroad for an extensive UK tour.  Not surprisingly, they received the same enthusiastic welcome that has greeted all Ukrainian artists in recent months.

The visit extended throughout the UK from Thursday, 9 February to Wednesday, 5 April.  The repertoire was familiar, with 24 performances of Madama Butterfly, 18 of Carmen and just 5 of Aïda.  Scotland saw two of the latter (Ayr and Perth) and four of Butterfly (Ayr, Hamilton, Dunfermline and Dundee) between Wednesday 14 and Monday 20 February. Carmen, seen last season, and with a new staging also due soon from Scottish Opera, stayed in the south.

The fourth of the Butterfly evenings was given an enthusiastic reception in the huge Caird Hall.  The curtain calls at the end were followed by a rousing cheer as the Ukrainian flag was unfurled. The entire company gave a rousing performance of the Ukrainian anthem, while a significant number of Ukrainian flags were waved in the audience - we clearly now have a good few ex-pats in the local community.

The performance was thoroughly enjoyable and gave anyone seeing the work for the first time an excellent introduction to opera.  The programme listed two singers each for Butterfly, Suzuki and Pinkerton, without specifying who was to sing on this occasion.  It was necessary to refer to photos in the programme to distinguish the ladies, who both sang well.

The tenor, Ruslan Zinevych, comes from Odesa and has toured Britain several times previously with the Ellen Kent management, as a member of other companies from Ukraine and Moldova, singing Rodolfo,  Alfredo, Don José and other roles.  Slim and youthful-looking, he is still an excellent Pinkerton, which is probably the part he has sung here more often than any other.

The programme only identified one baritone to sing Sharpless, but he had sung Amonasro in Perth the night before.  The second baritone, listed as the Commissioner, therefore stepped up to the longer role, and gave an impressive performance as a youthful ambassador.  His replacement as the Commissioner was unidentified, but noticeably the same chorister who had sung the King of Egypt the night before

While this company from Dnipro was touring widely round the UK (even to the Isle of Wight), the usual visit under the management of Senbla and Ellen Kent was also under way. With two nights in Edinburgh (February 10 & 11) and Glasgow (April 16 & 17), this is a company from Kyiv.  In the present time when we are comparatively deprived of opera productions by Scottish Opera and the Edinburgh Festival, as well as touring companies, it is perhaps disappointing that their repertoire should also be restricted to Aïda and Butterfly.  But it is still good to see these Ukrainian artists being able to visit at all.

Performance Cast

Lieutenant F B Pinkerton U S Navy

Oleksii Srebnytskyi

Ruslan Zinevych (Feb 20)

Goro marriage broker

Mykhailo Hazin (Feb 20)

Suzuki Cio-Cio-San's servant

Veronika Koval

Tetiana Halkina (Feb 20)

Sharpless U S Consul in Nagasaki

Oleksii Vietrov (Feb 20)

Andriy Lomakovych

Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly

Olena Dolhina

Nadiia Yeremenko (Feb 20)

Bonze a priest, Cio-Cio-San's uncle

Maksym Ivashchuk (Feb 20)

Kate Pinkerton

Anastasia Dobrinina (Feb 20)

Performance DatesMadam Butterfly 2023

Map List

Gaiety Theatre, Ayr | Ayr

15 Feb, 19.30

Town House, Hamilton | Hamilton

17 Feb, 19.30

Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline | Dunfermline

18 Feb, 19.30

Caird Hall | Dundee

20 Feb, 19.30

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