Xian Zhang Receives Glowing Reviews For Her Metropolitan Opera Debut

19 Jan 2024

Following the hugely successful opening of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at The Metropolitan Opera New York (revival of Anthony Minghella’s celebrated production) on 11 January 2024, conductor Xian Zhang has received glowing reviews for her house debut.

From New York Classical Review:

“The success of Kurzak’s performance was due in no small part to Xian Zhang’s sensitivity as a conductor. Zhang has an exceptional ear for balance, as well as the ability to draw the softest, most transparent tones imaginable from the orchestra. With such a conductor, Kurzak was therefore able to express Butterfly’s most intimate feelings effectively and effortlessly. Zhang, however, was equally adept in capturing the tragedy of Puccini’s tragedy with precision and passion. There was terror in the terrifying drum beats that announce the entrance of Yamadori, a rich man eager to have Cio-Cio-San as his wife, or the horrifying slashes of sound which accompany Butterfly’s expressions of despair in Act III. With such skills and obvious audience appeal, Zhang should prove a valuable addition to the Met’s conducting staff.”

From Bachtrack:

“Making her company debut in the pit was conductor Xian Zhang, eliciting superb music-making from the orchestra and allowing Puccini’s magnificent score to work its magic throughout the evening.”

With the run now underway, featuring a starry cast led by Aleksandra Kurzak as Cio-Cio-San and Matthew Polenzani as Pinkerton, the next performances will take place on 20, 24, 27 January 2024. The production then resumes with a second cast (Eleonora Buratto as Cio-Cio-San) on 27 Feb, 2, 6, 9, 14 March 2024, and concludes with the final series of performance featuring a third cast (Asmik Grigorian as Cio-Cio-San) on 26, 30 April, 4, 7, 11 May 2024. For more information on timings and casts, please click here.

Having recently returned to Norwegian Opera last season to conduct Puccini’s Tosca, Xian Zhang’s upcoming highlights include returns to the Metropolitan Opera, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra, amongst others.

Photo Credit: B Ealovega