Korean-American soprano Ms. Yunah Lee was a perfect Cio-Cio-San in our partners Opera Carolina's production of Madama Butterfly, when Opera Lively interviewed her.
She is a specialist of this role, which she has sung more than 100 times - among others, with New York City Opera, Stadttheater Bern, De Vlaamse Opera in Belgium, Opera Ireland, and various regional American companies . Her full lyric soprano voice is beautiful, pure and crystalline, and her acting is first rate, impacting on the character youthful innocence as well as sensuality and dramatic force.
This was a short interview that she granted us during the reception after the show.
"I was excited about this production because the designer is well known internationally as an artist. [Editor's note: it was the beautiful Opera Omaha production by visual artist Jun Kaneko, see a snapshot below]. I've seen the pictures and I heard about it from other colleagues who have done the production - they told me how beautiful the whole thing is, so I was excited about it even before I came here, and tonight it all came true. I wish I was in the audience myself to see the whole thing. I believe it's been one of the most beautiful experiences I've had on the operatic stage."
She continues: "Opera Carolina is a very professional company. People are very helpful. The conductor himself is the general director of the company, and he is very professional, he treats us very well and brings good singers, so the level of the company was very satisfying.
Every time I do a role, I do a little research. Because I've done Cio-Cio-San over a hundred times, I've had many chances to study her in a deeper level. I've read the original short story from 1898 by John Luther Long, and I've seen the movie of the 1930's acted by Cary Grant and Sylvia Sidney.
I'm still singing Butterfly after ten years, and still with a healthy voice. I'm considered one of the singers who has most performed Butterfly.
I'm singing another Butterfly with Minessota Opera in March, and also in Boston in the fall. I have two Mozart roles coming up next year, which I'm very excited about, too. I'd love to do Desdemona in Otello, and Manon in both Manon and Manon Lescaut."