Madame Butterfly is one of the most popular operas ever written, and with good reason. Its profoundly emotional story coupled with the dramatic vocals and staging typical of quality operas, you would have to be a statue to keep from being moved by it. Puccini's masterpiece about a Japanese bride swept off her feet and subsequently abandoned by a U.S. Navy lieutenant is a cultural landmark, so get your Madame Butterfly tickets today to experience it for yourself.
Madame Butterfly Information
About the Show:Madame (or Madama) Butterfly is one of the most well-known and oft-performed operas in the canon and is a staple of the operatic repertoire. Written by one of opera's most prolific composers, Giacomo Puccini, and with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, it is based on the story of the same name by John Luther Long, dramatized by David Belasco. It has become a part of Western popular culture and has been adapted into several stage and screen productions, including a 1932 non-musical dramatic film starring Cary Grant and Sylvia Sidney. The successful Broadway musical Miss Saigon was also based largely on Madame Butterfly. Get your Madame Butterfly tickets to see the work that started it all.
Madame Butterfly took several drafts until it became the piece we know today. Puccini originally wrote it in two acts, but its rushed production schedule led it to be ill-received on its February 17, 1904 opening. With some re-tooling, it opened again on May 28 of that year to great success. In 1907, by the time productions had mounted in New York City and Paris, Puccini made his final revisions and solidified a fifth version, the standard that is performed widely to this day. A product of much thought and careful crafting, Madame Butterfly is now a classic. Get your Madame Butterfly tickets now to see this iconic show performed live.
Act I: The scene is Nagasaki, Japan in the early twentieth century. The scene opens as Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton of the U.S. Navy is looking around the house that he has just leased from the Japanese marriage broker, Goro. Along with the house came three servants and a wife, called Cio-Cio-San but known better as Madame Butterfly. Pinkerton is quite happy with the arrangement: a 999-year marriage contract with a monthly renewal option (Japanese marriage law is much looser than that of the U.S.). He proclaims his contentment with his new deal to Sharpless, the American consul in Nagasaki, and explains that while he is enchanted with his new, young wife, he plans to eventually marry a "real" American wife once he leaves Japan. Sharpless warns him against being so careless with the girl's feelings, as he senses that she is taking this union much more seriously than he is. At their wedding, Butterfly's family shares their mixed opinions, especially of her decision to embrace Pinkerton's Christianity. Her uncle, a Buddhist priest, barges into the reception and convinces the rest of her family to renounce her as she did her ancestral religion. Pinkerton comforts and reassures Butterfly and they share a long duet about their love.
Act II: Three years later, Butterfly still waits faithfully for her husband, who has been gone with the Navy since shortly after their wedding. Her maid, Suzuki, worries about her obsession with waiting for her husband's return and fears it may never happen. Butterfly, fiercely devoted, will not hear any suggestions that she will not be reunited with Pinkerton. One day, Sharpless brings a letter from Pinkerton while Goro brings Prince Yamadori, seeking Butterfly as his wife. She staunchly refuses Goro and Yamadori and, when Sharpless implies that her husband may not return, brings out their two-year-old blonde child and asks him to see if knowing he has a son will bring him back to her. Sharpless doesn't have the heart to disclose the rest of the letter's contents, so he leaves. Just as Butterfly begins to feel forlorn, she hears a cannon report and sees Pinkerton's ship coming into the harbor. She orders Suzuki to help her to fill the house with flowers for her husband's return.
Act III: At morning's light, Sharpless escorts in Pinkerton and his new wife, Kate. Once Suzuki realizes who the woman is, she falls to her knees in anguish, but knows it is her duty to help break the news to her mistress. Suddenly overcome, Pinkerton flees the house, unable to face Butterfly. When Butterfly finally enters and finds not her husband, but Kate, she concedes to let them take the child if Pinkerton will come claim him in person. She then sends everyone away and, in solitude, takes out a ceremonial dagger that belonged to her father, sits beneath a statue of Buddha, and raises the blade. She says good-bye to her son just before she ends her life, choosing to die instead of live in shame. As she lies dying, Pinkerton calls out to her, but he is too late.
Run Time:3 hours and 25 minutes
Advisory:Due to length and seriousness of content, most appropriate for teens and older.
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