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Amore Opera’s ‘Madama Butterfly’
Drawing on his undergraduate studies of traditional Japanese theater, as well as the expertise of several Japanese cast members, director Nathan Hull brings elements of Kabuki into this production of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera (which itself drew from an 1887 work by French novelist Pierre Loti, as well as the 1990 London stage adaptation by American theatrical titan David Belasco). In Amore Opera’s version, characters enter along a walkway to the left of the house (hanamichi), and then strike dramatic poses during moments of emotional intensity (mie). One of them is played as a supernatural being who suddenly materializes (recalling the Aragoto style). Performed by a diverse rotating cast, with Douglas Martin conducting a full orchestra, this visually bold production closes the company’s fifth season. Also playing: an all-youth version of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” Part of Amore’s “Opera in Brief” series, it features a cast of 24, ranging in age from 6-13.
“Madama Butterfly” (sung in Italian with English subtitles) is performed at 7:30 pm on May 22-24 and at 2:30 pm on Sun., May 25. “The Mikado” performance is Sat., May 24, at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $20. “Madama Butterfly” tickets are $40, $30 for seniors/students/children. Call 888-811-4111 or visit amoreopera.org. At The Connelly Theater (220 E. Fourth St., btw. Aves. A & B).
THE 19th ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
“Art Stands Up to Power. Corporations Are Not People, Green vs. Greed” is the 2014 theme of Theater for the New City’s annual cross-cultural, multi-generational, family-and-hyphen-friendly, totally free Memorial Day Weekend hodgepodge of performance, music, dance, theater, film and comedy. The event takes place on stages located throughout Theater for the New City, and outdoors during the Saturday afternoon Block Party.
The dozens of performers include Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham, Le Squeezebox Cabaret, NY Lyric Circus (with juggler and bubblemeister John Grimaldi), the aerial dance Constellation Moving Company, Burning City Orchestra, comedienne Penny Arcade, The Rod Rodgers Dance Company and legendary TV pioneer Joe Franklin — plus theater pieces by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, Eduardo Machado, Barbara Kahn and others. A lobby art exhibit features paintings, photographs and sculptures from Lower East Side and East Village artists. If you appreciate the consistent — and decidedly offbeat — tone to the proceedings, seek out Theater for the New City Artistic Director Crystal Field, and congratulate her on recently winning an “Acker Award” — given annually for “Achievement in the Avant-Garde.”
Free. May 23-May 25. On Fri., performances from 6 pm-1 am. The Sat. Block Party is noon-5 pm, with films from noon-midnight and youth programming from 2-5 pm. On Sun., performances from 6 pm-midnight and poetry readings from 4-7 pm. At Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., btw. 9th & 10th Sts.). For a performance schedule, call 212-254-1109 or visit theaterforthenewcity.net.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER