“Madama Butterfly” – Cape Town Opera 2009

Beverly Chiat will be singing the part of Butterfly in the beautiful Flower Duet from Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly in the upcoming concert Viva Italia. Chiat is partnered by Bulgarian-born Capetonian Violina Anguelov, who sang the role of Suzuki in Cape Town Opera’s exquisite 2009 and 2013 productions of Madama Butterfly.

Read more about the Flower Duet HERE.

Beverley is one of South Africa’s leading coloratura sopranos. She has performed many coloratura roles, including Mozart’s “Queen of the night” both locally and abroad. So what is a Gilda doing singing a Butterfly? As wonderful an artist as she is, her voice is not made for the entire role of Butterfly. The dramatic climaxes and chest register required would suit the colours of a Maria Callas, Leontyne Price or a Renata Tebaldi, rather than an exquisite lyric coloratura.

In recent years, the advent of technology made it possible for lighter voices to succeed in this role. Maria Callas, though definitely a Spinto, never sang the role on stage. And a heftier Montserat Caballe might be perfectly suited to the vocal demands, but perhaps less so as the delicate teenager. At least on CD, lyric sopranos such as Angela Gheorghiu, Anna Moffo, Ying Huang or the young Mirella Freni (in her first recording of the role) make a touching bevy of Butterflies. The Flower Duet is one of the most lyrical passages in the opera, and this part of Butterfly’s personality suites Bev Chiat perfectly. It is in this duet that many of the more successful “hefty” spinto sopranos fall short. A special tenderness is required to convey the tragedy of this hopeful teenager – here not yet 20 years old and mother of a 3 year old child. Beverley’s perfect legato and ease in the high range of her voice, makes listening to her in anything she sings, a pure delight. In this duet her singing conjures up the delightful aroma of the roses and cherry blossoms wafting through the rooms. The pureness of her voice conveys perfectly both the pure and the ecstatic sides of Butterfly’s personality.

The chemistry between these two performers makes this concert an event to look forward to.


Beverley Chiat Curriculum Vitae

Beverley Chiat is a coloratura soprano from the beautiful city of Cape Town in South Africa. She began her singing studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Opera School with vocal pedagogy under the guidance of Sarita Stern and opera studies with Angelo Gobbato. She graduated with a Performer’s Diploma in Opera in 1995 and was awarded a full scholarship by UCT. The award enabled Beverley to complete her postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester, UK where she graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Performance. During her tenure at the RNCM Beverley was particularly noteworthy in the role of Queen of the Night in the production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. At the conclusion of her RNCM studies Beverley was awarded the prestigious Peter Moores full scholarship award as well as a full scholarship from the Royal Northern College of Music. Thereafter she traveled to Europe to audition and study Italian in Florence with a view to broadening her exposure to classic Italian masterpieces.

Beverley has a particular affinity for the opera stage. Her roles include: The Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute (Mozart),Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart), Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi), Gilda in Rigoletto (Verdi), Adele in Die Fledermaus (J Strauss), Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Valencienne in The Merry Widow (Lehar), Lucy in The Telephone (Menotti), Frasquita and Micaela in Carmen (Bizet) among others.

In addition to her skills as an opera singer Beverley has achieved considerable success as an oratoria singer and her substantial repertoire includes: Mozart’s Requiem, his Masses in C Major and D Minor, Motet Exulatate Jubilate; Handel’s Messiah; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Choral Fantasy and Pastoral Mass; Rossini’s Stabat Mater; Haydn’s Nelson Mass; Bach’s Paukenmesse and St John’s Passion; Mahler’s Symphonies 2 and 4, and Carmina Burana by Orff. She has sung the latter with both the Birmingham Royal Ballet and more recently with the Manama Singers in Bahrain.

Beverley has performed at all the major centres of South Africa in addition to singing in Botswana, Mozambique, Bahrain and Jersey, in the Channel Islands. She has worked with a number of well-known and acclaimed conductors and music directors including: Owain Arwel Hughes, Lesley Dunner, Dr Donald Hunt, Dr Barry Smith, Philip Ellis, Richard Cock, Christopher Dowdeswell, Lawrence Dale, Angelo Gobbato, Justus Franz, Wolfgang Goennenwein and Jun Maerkl.

Apart from her accomplishments in Opera and Operetta, Beverley is equally comfortable in a variety of music genres including Musicals, Jewish Folk Song and lighter cross-over music. More recently she sang in Johannesburg for Opera Africa with Kammersaenger Johann Botha in the Opera Extravaganza and performed with the Cape Town City Ballet, singing Barcelona in their production of Queen at the Ballet.  In 2008 Beverley made her European debut to great acclaim, touring in The Netherlands as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute for the Dutch opera company, De Nationale Reisopera.  Beverley is a part of the group Le Belle Voci and they have released their first CD – Opera deLight.