In September, Seattle Opera will reprise its production of “An American Dream,” by composer Jack Perla and librettist Jessica Murphy Moo, which depicts the incarceration of Japanese Americans in the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor — providing “an essential second perspective for ‘Butterfly’ audiences.”
“We want to present opera in a way that reflects our time and place — so naturally, representing the diverse people of our region is important to us,” Lang said in the opera’s season announcement. “Whether it’s Verdi or Mozart on our mainstage, or an opera with Muslim or LGBTQ characters presented in our community — opera speaks to the experience of being human which we share. This is why it’s crucial to reduce historic barriers that have made our art form, at times, inaccessible.
The mainstage season unfurls with “Madame Butterfly,” by Giacomo Puccini, opening Aug. 5. Lang acknowledges that this story is problematic, thanks in part to some productions’ de-emphasis of Puccini’s anti-colonial sentiment and of his criticism of U.S. attitudes toward Japan. This well-regarded production, directed by Kate Cherry, is more faithful to the original intent, Lang said.”