Tatiana Borodina will sing the title role, with Arturo Chac‹n-Cruz as Lieutenant Pinkerton. Placido Domingo, WNO's general director, will conduct the Washington Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
WNO first staged this acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly, by Polish director Mariusz Trelinski, in 2001.
Organizers of the event hope that the simulcast, shown on an 18-by-32-foot video screen located near the Capitol, will draw one of the largest audiences for such an event. The WNO plans to simulcast one opera on the Mall each year; the tradition was inaugurated in November 2005 with a simulcast of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, which attracted over 13,000 listeners.
Plšcido Domingo, general director of Washington National Opera, said, "Washington National Opera is thrilled to continue to find new ways of bringing opera to anyone. With our overwhelming success of last season's simulcast, we are confident our Butterfly simulcast will draw another large and enthusiastic audience."
The Washington Post writes that Kenneth R. Feinberg, the opera's newly appointed president, said the simulcast had prompted "some discussion" among board members. "There's a central question here — and it is not only a question in Washington but in New York and San Francisco and in all the great opera companies. Will these new technology initiatives raise revenue or is revenue not the primary goal?"
"I believe that if we allow the next generation of young people greater access to the opera now — through simulcasts, radio, special events, lower-priced tickets, free tickets and so on — they are much more likely to support the opera later on. This is the wave of the future — and, fortunately, we found a way to pay for it," he added.
The Metropolitan Opera's live telecast of Madama Butterfly drew thousands of viewers on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza and in Times Square last month.