Tifton Gazette

Local News

January 29, 2013

Tifton native to perform in ‘Madame Butterfly’ Thursday

TIFTON — When “Madame Butterfly” comes to the stage in Howard Auditorium Thursday at 7 p.m., Tifton resident John R. Tibbetts II will sing the cameo role of Prince Yamadori.

A 2009 graduate of Tift County High School, where he performed regularly with the Blue Masque Drama Troup, wrestled and played linebacker for the Tift County Blue Devils, Tibbetts is majoring in vocal performance at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

He studied vocal music with Dr. Susan Roe at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College while a TCHS junior and senior.

“Without Dr. Roe’s guidance and training, I would never have developed the background in vocal music, nor the insight into college programs to build my future,” Tibbetts said.

As a member of the Peach State Opera Company, he will perform as part of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College “ABAC Presents!” performing arts series.

“Madame Butterfly” will be sung in English in Tifton; Tibbetts performed in the original Italian previously.

“What a wonderful opportunity to hear this opera rich in language and music in a way it can be readily understood,” Tibbetts said. “Simple changes help all of us embrace the story.”

More than 200 English translation changes were made to help modern audiences enjoy the opera.

Among his examples was changing the rarely used word “harried” to be “useless” for more universal understanding.

Giacomo Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” debuted in 1904, the timeless story of a Japanese Geisha who gives up her faith and her family to marry an American naval lieutenant.

Music scholars consider the opera an epic tale of love, devotion, longing, betrayal and tragedy.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students under 18 and can be purchased online at http://www.artsconnection.ticketleap.com or by phone at 391-4895. Tickets will be available at the door.

The Peach State Opera Company was founded in 2008 to offer performance opportunities to aspiring professional singers and accessible opera productions for communities without opera companies.

Tibbetts has been named a Young Artist Fellow and invited to participate at the prestigious Colburn School in Los Angeles June 28 - July 25, where he will be presented in a special preview concert with faculty pianist Liza Stepanova.

As a Colburn Fellow, Tibbetts will receive unique singing opportunities with senior faculty through vocal master classes, coaching and private lessons and will be featured in several concerts.

He is a staff singer and frequent soloist at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta and an occasional soloist in Tifton at First Baptist Church and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

Tibbetts is the son of John R. Tibbetts and Jeannie L. Tibbetts of Tifton.

Performances in his college career include Leo Bloom for the Georgia Institute of Technology “The Producers” 2010 and Prince Yamadori in “Madame Butterfly” in his operatic debut at Georgia State University (GSU) in the spring of 2011. Also, other performances at GSU include Bob in “Old Maid and the Thief,” Count Almaviva in “The Marriage of Figaro,” Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in “A Little Night Music” for the Harrower Opera Workshop and John Brooke in “Little Women.”

Tibbetts won first place honors as third-year male vocalist at the 2012 National Association of Teachers of Singing music competition in Georgia.

“ABAC Presents!” will feature the Vega String Quartet March 21.

Free performances by the Band of the United States Air Force Reserve will be held Feb. 23 and the United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors April 18.

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