Madame Butterfly (plus Clear)

At the beginning of Madame Butterfly, the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San is innocent and pure. After she has her heart broken by the dastardly Pinkerton, she’s no longer innocent, but according to Nao Kusuzaki, who’ll be dancing the title role in the Houston Ballet’s production of Stanton Welch’s two-act ballet, her heart is still pure.

''There’s a transformation when she meets Pinkerton,'' Kusuzaki tells us. ''In the first act, when she falls in love with him, she goes from being a child to being a woman. In the second act, after Pinkerton has left her, she still believes that he’ll return for her. When she realizes he isn’t going to, she knows what she has to do. She may not be innocent any longer, but she is certainly still honest and honorable.''

Kusuzaki, who is making her debut as Cio-Cio San, shares the role with Houston Ballet principal dancers Amy Fote, who will be performing as Cio-Cio San for the last time (Fote is retiring in December), and Sara Webb.

Madame Butterfly is paired with Clear, a showcase for the company’s male dancers.
Thu., Sept. 6; Sept. 8-9; Sept. 14-16, 2012


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