Madame Butterfly ~Puccini
Essentially: An handsome marine officer is on leave in an asian town. There he meets a woman, seduce her, and she falls madly in love. Later the ship calls : all men must return for departure. The officer promises he’ll come back and marry her, then leaves. The woman finds herself pregnant and wait for her lover’s return, but then he does come back with another wife he married abroad. Despaired, the woman gives him their son, then flees and commits suicide.
Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly) is an opera in three acts (originally two acts) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. The libretto of the opera is based in part on the short story “Madame Butterfly” (1898) by John Luther Long, which was dramatized by David Belasco. Elements also appear to derive from the novel Madame Chrysanthème (1887) by Pierre Loti. According to one scholar, the story of the opera was based on events that actually occurred in Nagasaki in the early 1890s. The original version of the opera, in two acts, had its premiere on February 17, 1904, at La Scala in Milan. It was very poorly received despite the presence of such notable singers as soprano Rosina Storchio, tenor Giovanni Zenatello and baritone Giuseppe De Luca in the lead roles. This was due in large part to the late completion and inadequate time for rehearsals. Puccini revised the opera, splitting the second act into two acts and making other changes. On May 28, 1904, this version was performed in Brescia and was a huge success.
Between 1915 and 1920, Japan’s best-known opera singer Tamaki Miura won international fame for her performances as Cio-Cio San. Her statue, along with that of Puccini, can be found in the Glover Garden in Nagasaki, the city where the opera is set. Madama Butterfly is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire for companies around the world and it ranks as Number 8 in the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.
- Life of Puccini (wqxr.org)
- Madam Butterfly, ENO – review (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Madam Butterfly at ENO has a stark beauty (theculturecut.wordpress.com)