ROH Opera: Madama Butterfly

Puccini’s devastating tragedy about a young geisha who falls in love with an American naval officer.

Cio-Cio-San, the young Japanese bride of American naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton, finds her romantic idyll shattered when he deserts her shortly after their marriage. She lives in hope that one day he will return.

Three years later, Cio-Cio-San and her son, Dolore, see Pinkerton’s ship in the harbour. She excitedly awaits his visit – but when Pinkerton and his American wife Kate arrive and learn about Dolore’s existence, they ask to take the boy away, and raise him in America. Cio-Cio-San bids her son farewell and takes her own life.

With a score that includes Butterfly’s aria, ‘Un bel dì, vedremo’ (‘One fine day’) and the Humming Chorus, Giacomo Puccini’s opera is entrancing and ultimately heart-breaking.
Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s exquisite production takes inspiration from 19th-century European images of Japan. 
Asmik Grigorian performs the role of Cio-Cio-San, with Kevin John Edusei conducting.

Madama Butterfly: A delightfully simple balance between Japanese culture and the west

When the directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier first produced their version of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the Royal Opera in 2002, they struck a delightfully simple balance between Japanese culture and the western world.

Butterfly is a brutal story, although Puccini at least ensured that Pinkerton, a US naval officer who abandons his 15-year old Japanese geisha for “a real American bride”, is seen as the villain of the piece. Puccini even composed an arioso of remorse (“Addio, fiorito asil”) when revising the opera to appease his tenors. Musically, the opera is glorious and, staged well, it can be unbearably moving. It would be tragic if Butterfly was wiped from operatic stages and condemned to a lifetime of concert performances, so The Royal Opera’s efforts in this respect are welcome. 

Madama Butterfly: A delightfully simple balance between Japanese culture and the west

When the directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier first produced their version of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the Royal Opera in 2002, they struck a delightfully simple balance between Japanese culture and the western world.

A subtly revised Madama Butterfly returns to the Covent Garden stage by By Mark Pullinger,

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