Madama Butterfly returns to the Metropolitan Opera on March 19! Anthony Minghella returns in a beautiful and dramatic production, starring Hui He and Ana Maria Martinez as Cio-Cio San.
The well-known opera inspired the Broadway musical “Miss Saigon”; the tragic story of a young Japanese bride abandoned by her American husband to return home for a new wife.
Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera
The protagonist – Madame Butterfly, or her friend’s Cio-Cio San – is a young Japanese geisha. She naively believes her marriage arrangement with a visiting U.S. Navy officer is a loving and lasting marriage. As one of the most influential and tragic characters in contemporary opera, the story behind Orientalism and lazy imperialism focus. But only on those directly affected by Pinkerton’s behavior and his callous attitude toward young brides, who he takes with him.
With a newborn American woman, three years after the child was left behind. Instead of living in shame, Cio-Cio San chose to die honorably. She kills herself with the same knife her father used. But not before first protecting her son’s eyes. One of the opera’s most exciting and tear-jerking pieces of music is the iconic buzzing chorus. It takes place off-stage as Butterfly, her son, and maid Suzuki begin a long vigil all night as they wait for Pinkerton’s ship to dock in Nagasaki.
Soprano Eleonora Buratto takes on the touchstone title of tragic geisha, after the Met played Norina in Don Pasquale and Liu in Turandot. Tenor Brian Jagde is the grim U.S. Navy officer who betrays her. Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong plays her loyal maid Suzuki and baritone David Bee David Bizic as Consul Sharpless.
Alexander Soddy conducts the impressive and much-loved work of Anthony Minghella. Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) was hugely popular during his lifetime. His mature works are still the main repertoire of most opera companies around the world. His “Madama Butterfly” screenwriters Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Ilica also collaborated with the composer on two of his previous operas, “Tosca” and “La Bohème.” The playwright Giacosa was in charge of the stories, while the poet Ilica was mainly in charge of the words themselves.
Credits: Newyorkcitytheater.com; metopera.org
Credits featured image: Wikimedia commons – ajay_suresh