Livermore Valley Opera begins its 24th performance season Sept. 26 at the Bankhead Theater with "Madamaaa Butterfly," the first of two fully staged operas in the lineup.
"Our first opera, Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly,' tells a sensual and tragic story of a young girl rooted in the traditionalism, but yearning for a release, a true, all conquering passion that spans oceans and traditions," marketing chairwoman Katie Das said. "Most of all, this young girl is seeking to be her own person, someone who is capable of making her own decisions, no matter how difficult the choices may be."
Metropolitan Opera singer soprano Marie Plette, a favorite of Livermore Valley Opera audiences, will play Cio-Cio San, the 15-year-old geisha who willingly becomes a common law wife of an American naval officer, Pinkerton. He abandons her, pregnant and lonely, and she spends the next three years yearning for him to return.
Supporters will have a chance to meet Plette on Sept. 18 at "Dinner with Two Divas," an intimate event at a private home. To learn more, go to www.livermorevalleyopera.com.
The second fully staged opera this season will be "The Italian Girl in Algiers," by Gioachino Rossini, from March 12-20.
"The witty, funny and complicated main character and heroine of the opera, Isabella, finds herself much like Dorothy in a grownup version of 'The Wizard of Oz' -- conquering a horde of scheming admirers, and defends herself with humor and courage," Das said.
As always, weeks before the opera opens, Pleasanton and Livermore libraries are holding OperaLIVE! presentations, which are hour-long previews of operas about to be performed.
"OperaLIVE! events are free, public events that present opera to the community so that people who might not otherwise have the opportunity can experience this beautiful music and drama," said Livermore Valley Opera president Jim Schmidt. "We hope that the experience will encourage people to seek out other opera and other live performing arts."
The Pleasanton performance was Aug. 23, but OperaLIVE! will be at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Livermore Library, 1188 S. Livermore Ave., and will include "Madama Butterfly" star Marie Plette and others.
"The singers will perform selections from Puccini's famous opera providing listeners a taste of the wonderful talent that they will hear at the Bankhead Theater," Schmidt said. "Audiences have been thrilled to hear professional opera singers perform up close in these intimate venues."
Other events this season in 2016 are "An Evening with Opera Diva Frederica Von Stade" on Jan. 30 and the popular Opera in the Vineyard. For more information on opera events and community outreach programs, visit www.livermorevalleyopera.com.
What: "Madama Butterfly" by Giacomo Puccini
Who: Livermore Valley Opera
Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturdays, Sept. 26, Oct. 3; 2 p.m., Sundays, Sept. 27, Oct. 4. Pre-opera talks one hour prior to curtain.
Tickets: $39-$89. Call 373-6800; go to box office; or visit www.livermoreperformingarts.org.
Other: Opening Night Gala at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard at 4 p.m. Separate ticket purchase for $90.