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Beyond Butterfly:

How an Asian American Opera Singer Found Her Voice Amid a Reckoning with Race

Japanese-American opera singer Nina Yoshida Nelsen reflects on her decade-long career of being repeatedly cast in "Madame Butterfly," while often overlooked for other non-Asian specific roles. In response, the mezzo-soprano is pushing for change in her beloved industry by speaking out about the pigeonholing and stereotyping that many Asian artists face.


Nina Yoshida Nelsen serves as the Artistic Advisor to Boston Lyric Opera. She was involved with the Butterfly Process discussion series, a commitment to authentic storytelling with BLO's artists and for its audiences that informs a new approach to presenting canonical operas today. Check out all seven lectures plus the docu-concert "B".


Nina was recently featured in a short documentary by NHK World-Japan for her work in the opera industry.  This piece takes a dive into her connection with the opera "An American Dream"

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Nina is Co-Founder and President of the Asian Opera Alliance. Known for uplifting Asian voices in opera and advocating for greater representation in the opera industry, while striving for broader equity.

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Check out this podcast curated and moderated by Nina on Madama Butterfly.  Originally recorded in partnership with The Atlanta Opera for their 2022 production of Madama Butterfly.

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