A lot of confirmed opera haters give it up for Madame Butterfly
. A novel and a play of the same name were huge hits in the early 1900s but Puccini’s intense, lush score outdistanced them all, and Cincinnati Opera winds up its season with this favorite. Italian lyric soprano Maria Luigia Borsi returns to sing the tragic geisha Cio-Cio-San, ever faithful to the American naval officer Pinkerton, who abandons her.
Tenor Shawn Mathey gets a chance to play the nasty guy (Pinkerton); the great mezzo Kelley O’Connor is Suzuki, Cio-Cio-San’s devoted servant; baritone Roberto de Candia sings American Consul Sharpless; and Cincinnati Opera staple Steven Cole sings the marriage broker Goro. Ramón Tebar conducts. Get out your handkerchiefs.
7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. Tickets start at $25. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-241-2742, cincinnatiopera.com