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Boston Soprano Stars as Madama Butterfly October 30 in Concert Opera Performance With Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra

Mattie Kelly Arts Center


10/6/2010 -

October 30, 2010 7:30 PM
$22.50 for Adults, $16 for Youth
Tickets on Sale: August 9, 2010
Purchase Tickets Online

"Maria Ferrante broke my heart Sunday night. Or, through her, Puccini's Madama Butterfly did," wrote Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe in January, 2003. Her "combination of delicacy and intensity . . . brought tears to my eyes. . . In her honesty, imagination, and investment, she was infinitely superior to the last Butterfly I saw at the Met."

Local audiences will have the opportunity to hear this stunning soprano when the Boston-based Ferrante heads a stellar cast of guest vocalists to perform a concert version of Madama Butterfly on Saturday, October 30 with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra (NFSO). The beloved opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles and performed in the mainstage theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville. Tickets are now on sale from the Box Office at (850) 729-6000 for $22.50 each for adults or $16 each for youth age 18 and younger and for active duty military members with an ID. Tickets are also available online at or via the symphony website at

Noted as one of the most emotionally involving operas ever written, the NFSO will bring the romance and pathos of this heart-wrenching tale to life as Ferrante guest stars as the trusting geisha whose love for an American naval officer ends tragically when Eastern and Western cultures collide. As a concert version of Puccini's operatic masterpiece, the performers will interact with one another as they bring the drama to life, without costumes or sets, as they perform the entire opera onstage with the orchestra.

"During my career in New England, concert opera performances of major operatic works were among the most critically acclaimed and popular with audiences. It was during this time that I worked with Maria Ferrante and found her to be one of the most engaging and moving vocal artists I've ever heard," said NFSO conductor and music director Jeffrey Rink. "The pathos Ferrante will bring to the role of Butterfly is something patrons will not want to miss."

"I chose Madama Butterfly because of its popularity and universal appeal to reach audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds," said Rink. "In many respects the orchestra is one of the stars of the opera in that it doesn't just provide an accompaniment. Puccini utilizes a wide array of percussion instruments and special musical scales to give the orchestra an exotic Asian flavor."

Major underwriting for the NFSO's production of Madama Butterfly is provided by the George and Alice Rich Charitable Foundation, Alexander A. Bove, Jr., trustee. Bove is a widely known trust and estate attorney who authored a financial column for the Boston Globe. Rink enjoyed a long collaboration with Bove for productions of operas in concert version presented under Rink's baton in Boston's Jordan Hall. "I am so pleased that this particular gift will help sponsor Puccini's masterpiece here in Northwest Florida," noted Rink.

Ferrante's operatic roles range from the great stage heroines (Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Liù in Puccini's Turandot, Rosalinda in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, and Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème) to serving girls (Despina in Mozarts Cosi Fan Tutte, Barbarina in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Serpina in Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, and in Englebert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel: Gretel, who not only serves, but is served.) "A true singing actress," Dyer of the Boston Globe enthused, "her eyes and hands and body know how to sing, and with her voice she can act."

Ferrante has also performed recently in New York with the Ensemble for the Romantic Century in a program of Spanish compositions accompanied by the guitar virtuoso Benjamin Verdery; as well as performances with the Charleston and Delaware Symphony Orchestras, as featured soloist for BankBoston Showcase Series, The Newton Symphony (MA), The Newtown Chamber Orchestra (CT), Harvard's Landmark Concerts, the Harvard Musical Association, Orpheus Choir of Hexam (England), The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC and more. Her most recently released CD, Sea Tides and Time received a rave review from the Boston Herald, "[Ms. Ferrante] known for her lilting soprano voice and probing mind& brings a supple and colorful approach to a broad variety of repertoire." The Boston Globe said, "Superb."

The NFSO's 24th concert season continues December 10 with a "Baroque Christmas" concert featuring the Northwest Florida Symphony Chorus and orchestra performing a marvelous array seasonal music of the 18th century to ring in the holidays in grand style. The ever-popular "Stars of Tomorrow" concert on February 25, 2011 features winners of the prestigious regional Concerto Competition and a performance of the playful classic by Russian composer Prokofiev, "Peter and the Wolf", to delight and inspire children and adults of all ages. NFSO founding conductor emeritus, John Leatherwood, will serve as narrator. The season finale concert on April 30, 2011 entitled "Prayer, Beauty and Strength", features Beethoven's majestic Piano Concerto No. 3 with guest artist Anna Bulkina, 2009 Gold Medal winner of the Wideman Piano Competition, as well as a performance of the rarely heard Mozart motet Misericordias Domini and the immensely popular and sublime Fauré Requiem with the Northwest Florida Symphony Chorus.

Established in 1987, the NFSO is the region's premiere professional orchestra and performs under the direction of Jeffrey Rink, who in addition to serving as the orchestra's music director and conductor, serves as the college's Mattie Kelly Distinguished Endowed Teaching Chair in Music and Conducting and has led orchestra performances from Mexico City to Tokyo. The NFSO relies on individual and corporate gifts to support its educational endeavors for youth and the year-round musical programs of the symphony. For information on corporate or charitable gifts to underwrite the NFSO, contact the Northwest Florida State College Foundation at 729-5357. For additional information see the symphony's website at