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Chicago hits the right notes for ‘Madama Butterfly’ tenor

James Valenti acclaimed Florida-based tenor stars Lyric OperChicago’s soon-to-open “MadamButterfly.”

James Valenti, the acclaimed Florida-based tenor, stars in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s soon-to-open “Madama Butterfly.”

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Updated: October 10, 2013 8:38PM

In his first few weeks in Chicago, James Valenti has already done more than many people can fit into several months.

The acclaimed Florida-based tenor, who stars in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s soon-to-open “Madama Butterfly” (Oct. 15) is on the road at least two-thirds of the year, so he tries to make himself at home wherever he is working. “I do the best I can to get as plugged in as possible,” Valenti said. “I reach out to people I know who live in the area or other singers who have visited, and I usually compile a big list of restaurants, bars, hotels, spas and things to do.”

So far on that list, he has visited Girl & the Goat and the Aviary — “a cool place to chill and meet some good people” — and checked out clubs like the Pump Room. “That was a very nice spot,” he said. “It was a little more upscale, a little more my scene.” In addition, he has attended a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert, rented a Divvy bike for a lakefront ride and indulged in such touristy musts as Gino’s pizza and a milkshake at Ed Debevic’s.

And all that is just for starters. “I want to really experience the best of the city,” Valenti said.

For tickets and performance schedule, vist — Kyle MacMillan

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