Madame Butterfly

March 14, 2017 - 6:30 pm

Event Category: Opera inCinema
Admission: $20, Members $18


Conductor: Pinchas Steinberg
Director: Damiano Michieletto revival by Roberto Pizzuto
Cast: Amarilli Nizza | Massimiliano Pisapia | Alberto Mastromarino | Giovanna Lanza
Opera in 3 acts, Sung in Italian

Puccini based his opera partly on the story Madame Butterfly (1898) written by John Luther Long and dramatized by David Belasco. Puccini also based it on Pierre Loti’s novel Madame Chrysanthème (1887). According to other sources, the opera was based on actual events that occurred in Nagasaki in early 1890.

Puccini wrote five versions of this opera, the first of which premiered on February 7, 1904 at the Teatro alla Scala di Milano. A new version was later released at the Teatro Grande di Brescia on May 28, 1904, and his definitive version was released in 1907. According to Operabase, this version is the eighth most performed opera in the world and the fourth most performed opera in Italy. It is Puccini’s third most popular opera, following La Bohème and Tosca.


The geisha Cio-Cio-San, called Madame Butterfly, has married an American naval officer, Pinkerton, who deserts her shortly after the wedding. Butterfly bears his son and patiently awaits her husband’s return. One day, the American consul receives a letter from Pinkerton in which he says he has an American wife (his marriage in Japan not being legally recognized in America) and is returning to fetch his child. Pinkerton’s ship finally arrives and he sets out to visit Butterfly with his wife, Kate. Filled with remorse, however, he is unable to face Butterfly and leaves Kate alone with her. Butterfly tells Kate that she will give Pinkerton his son if he comes to fetch him. Rejecting a life of disgrace, she kills herself with her father’s sword. Pinkerton arrives to find her dead.

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