Minghella's first opera will have 12 perfs

LONDON — English National Opera has set a Nov. 5 opening night for its new production of “Madame Butterfly,” which will mark the first opera production from Anthony Minghella.

Production will play 12 perfs in rep at the London Coliseum through Dec. 13 before returning to the ENO schedule in spring.

Minghella will be joined by his wife, Carolyn Choa, as associate director and choreographer, with conductor David Parry providing the English-language translation for the Puccini opera.

“I’d love to have done a production with a little less scrutiny, but that’s inevitable. I’m very nervous about it,” Minghella told Daily Variety, adding that he’d been “feeling quite timid about going back into the theater again.”

Minghella began his career in Brit legit as a playwright and director before helming films including “The English Patient,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain.”

A ‘rehearsal’

He said “Butterfly” marked “a rehearsal for thinking about directing some plays. I’ve wanted to try and learn how to be a film director and now see that I’ve done that at the expense of my own writing and directing for the theater.”

Mary Plazas has the title role, with Gwyn Hughes Jones as Pinkerton and Christopher Purves as Sharpless. Designers are Michael Levine (sets) and Peter Mumford (lighting), with New York fashion designer Han Feng making her opera debut with the costumes.

The director comes to “Butterfly” directly from the 60-day shoot of his latest film, “Breaking and Entering,” starring Jude Law and Juliette Binoche. The $15 million movie, set in contempo London, will be released in the spring.

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