“Madama Butterfly” is Giacomo Puccini’s Italian opera about a Japanese geisha’s broken heart.
The librettists Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica also worked with Puccini on Tosca and La Bohème.
Madama Butterfly premiered at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy in 1904. It premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1907.
Madama Butterfly 2020
Madama Butterfly is at the Metropolitan Opera in two casts.
The opening cast, October 11 to November 25, 2019, stars Hui He as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki, and Pierto Pretti as Pinkerton.
The closing cast, April 1-11, 2020, stars Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez as Cio-Cio-San, U.S. mezzo-soprano MaryAnn McCormick as Suzuki, and Italian tenor Giorgio Berrugi as Pinkerton.
Pier Giorgio Morandi (Italian) conducts.
This is Anthony Minghella’s breathtakingly beautiful production. Carolyn Choa is the director and choreographer. Michael Levine designed the sets. Han Fen designed the costumes. Peter Mumford designed the lighting and Blind Summit Theatre did the puppetry.
Tickets from $30 at metopera.org
Madama Butterfly is about a Geisha’s broken heart
Madama Butterfly tells the story of Pinkerton, a U.S. naval officer who takes a wife of convenience, Cio-Cio-San, while on station in Japan. Cio-Cio is pronounced “chocho” and sounds like the Japanese world for butterfly.
Cio-Cio is so excited to marry an American that she secretly converts to Christianity. At the wedding Cio-Cio is denounced for giving up her religion to marry this man. Pinkerton leaves Japan shortly after. Cio-Cio waits years in vain for Pinkerton’s return.
When the American Consul brings a letter from Pinkerton to Cio-Cio explaining that he is returning to Japan, Cio-Cio asks the Consul to tell Pinkerton that she has given birth to his son. Cio-Cio gets so excited on the news that Consul can’t finish the letter which says that Pinkerton is returning with his American wife.
Seeing Pinkerton’s ship arrive in Nagasaki harbor, Cio-Cio waits up all night for him, but finally falls asleep in the morning. Pinkerton arrives at the house with his American wife Kate who has agreed to raise the child, but is so ashamed by the love he sees in the house that he leaves.
The American Consul and Kate break the news to Cio-Cio who begins to pray, says goodbye to her son, blindfolds him, puts an American flag in his hands and commits hara-kiri, ritual suicide with her father’s knife. Pinkerton rushes in, but it is too late.
Madama Butterfly History
The Metropolitan Opera first performed “Madama Butterfly” in 1907 with Geraldine Farrar as Cio-Cio San, Enrico Caruso as Pinkerton, Louise Homer as Suzuki, and Antonio Scotti as Sharpless.
Arturo Vigna conducted before an audience that included Puccini himself.
Madama Butterfly 2017 – 2018
The Metropolitan Opera performs Madama Butterfly twelve times between Thursday, November 2, 2017 and Friday, March 16, 2018.
Hui He and Ermonela Jaho share the role of geisha Madama Butterfly. Roberto Aronica and Luis Chapa play her husband Pinkerton. Jader Bignamini (Italian) and Marco Armiliato (Italian) share conducting duties.