top of page

Madama Butterfly

Directed by: Fenlon Lamb

Music by: Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by: Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa

Original Production

September 2019 - Inland NW Opera



Jefferson Ridenour - Set Designer

Kris Kirkwood - Projection Designer

Brian B Moore - Lighting Designer

Denise Leonard - Costume Designer

Zoe Still - Paint Charge


Conductor - Dean Williamson

Butterfly - Elizabeth Caballero

Pinkerton - Chad Shelton

Suzuki - Sandra Piques Eddy

Sharpless - Corey McKern

Director's Note

As stage director, I have the unique opportunity to tell the story of Madama Butterfly in a different and unexpected way. The fleeting nature of live performance is compounded by the theatrical constraint of using a material which can be torn and crumpled and tossed away; echoing Pinkerton’s careless treatment of Butterfly. It also lends an extra bit of authenticity considering many of the materials used in Japanese design are indeed paper. The fragility of the moment and of Butterfly’s belief in her American husband is clearly depicted through this medium. Creating a truly ingenious and unique production of a well-known opera is always a challenge. The usual set rental package isn’t always conceived in a way that makes sense with my own vision of the piece. But here at Inland Northwest Opera, I have the opportunity to dream and create the production I see in my head right there on stage and with a group of collaborators that understand the process. This allows me to support the singers more fully by supplying them with an atmosphere and a concept that resonates completely. 


As Artistic Director, I’m thrilled to partner with Inland Northwest Opera to bring Madama Butterfly to life with ingenious sets, stunning projections and evocative lighting. My team has worked together with your local opera company to bring you a first-rate production which is one-of-a-kind. This set was designed to fit beautifully in the Fox Theatre (notice the leaf detail taken from the art deco design of the theatre and incorporated into the Japanese garden of the set). At once epic and familiar, our paper sets have become an innovative expression of old-school painted drops mixed with clever techniques which provide an impressive visual context but with a smaller ecological footprint. 


"The stage design of this production was its most strikingly imaginative and innovative element. Under the direction of stage designer Fenlon Lamb and set designer Jefferson Ridenour and his crew, operating under the name of Papermoon Opera Productions, they framed the action with shoji-like panels suspended from the flies above the stage at the Fox and projected images upon them that intensified, amplified and commented upon the drama."

"When Sharpless posed the awful question to Butterfly, “How would you feel if you never saw him (Pinkerton) again?,” the tranquil landscape projected behind them was abruptly replaced with a video of swirling, impenetrable fog, suggesting the loss of the bright future for which Butterfly had hoped. It is difficult to imagine how conventional sets and props could have expanded artistic reach of the production to such an extent."

-Don Chareunsy, The Spokesman-Review




bottom of page