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Tony-winning 'Red' team goes from Broadway to the opera

June 16, 2010 | 11:25 am

Grandage They dominated the Tony Awards on Sunday, and now the creative folks behind "Red" on Broadway have set their sights on another theatrical challenge -- a new production of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" at the Houston Grand Opera.

Director Michael Grandage will stage the popular Italian opera in a production that will open the company's new season on Oct. 22 at the Wortham Theater Center. Grandage, who won the Tony for directing "Red," is the artistic director of London's Donmar Warehouse, where he staged the John Logan play earlier this season before bringing it to Broadway.

For "Madama Butterfly," he will be working again with set and costume designer Christopher Oram and lighting designer Neil Austin, both of whom won Tonys on Sunday for their work on "Red."

The opera will star soprano Ana Maria Martinez in the title role and tenor Joseph Calleja as Pinkerton. Conductor Patrick Summers will lead the five scheduled performances, which run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5.

Grandage's U.S. operatic debut represents the latest in a line of high-profile theater directors who are crossing over into the world of opera.

In recent years, stage auteurs such as Bartlett Sher, Jack O'Brien, Nicholas Hytner and the late Anthony Minghella have directed major opera productions in the United States and Britain.

In May, Grandage directed his first opera production, Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd," for the Glyndebourne Festival in England. The production is scheduled to run through June 27. (That's coincidentally the same day that "Red" is set to close on Broadway.)

Grandage has stated that his new staging of "Madama Butterfly" in Houston will take inspiration from traditional Japanese art.

-- David Ng

[Updated: A previous version of this story had the wrong name for the conductor of "Madama Butterfly."]

Photo: Michael Grandage at Sunday's Tony Awards. Credit: Grant Hershorn / Reuters

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