Soprano Maria José Siri will be the protagonist of Madama Butterfly for the opening of the La Scala opera season on 7 December 2016.
She was born in Uruguay but has been living for several years in Italy. The opera's conductor, Riccardo Chailly, chose her for Cio-Cio-San, a performance that will be transmitted live to cinemas, on television and radio.
I am honoured and excited as I have been preparing to tackle this role for quite some time. I am especially happy because I have never sung before with Riccardo Chailly, and had never even sung Madam Butterfly when Maestro, who is a superlative interpreter of Puccini, heard me and chose me. I am also delighted to be singing in the critical edition of the opera, which is part of Chailly's project at La Scala to present Puccini's operas in their original versions.
In January 2017 Maria José Siri will collaborate again with Chailly when she sings in Verdi's Requiem in Berlin as part of the Berliner Philharmoniker's concert season.
Siri is quickly gaining a reputation as being one of the world's best Verdi sopranos, having sung Aida at La Scala in two different productions with Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta, and recently was Odabella in Attila to open Bologna's 2016 opera season. Recent engagements have included Tosca at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Aida with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino at the Rostropovich Festival in Moscow and Maddalena di Coigny in Andrea Chenier in Tokyo.
Soon she will be seen in Suor Angelica at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and in July she will make her debut as Norma for the Macerata Opera Festival.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.