SF Opera: Madame Butterfly (Puccini)

I Went to see Madame Butterfly At the SF opera today. It was a very riveting performance, and I couldn’t help but to engage my emotions most of the time.

My only prior experience with opera was Tchaikovsky’s iolanta at Dallas opera. It was a shorter one and I was much disappointed with its production, the whole cast was no more than 10 people, very unsatisfying. Madame Butterfly had about 60 people, which was much more opera-like. The story was much more believable, it’s probably a combination of better actors and better plot in general.

Madame Butterfly was this innocent 15 years old Japanese girl who were to marry this American guy Pinkerton. One point in the first act the goro mentioned she was cheap, only 100 yen, that’s about 10 US cents now. Anyway, she had already feel in love with him before the marriage and had even converted to Christianity, this also caused all her relatives to disown her. Pinkerton on the other hand kept mentioning how she ignites his desires, and that he said that a life is not worth living if he doesn’t pick a flower wherever he goes. So he was never in love with Butterfly and only uses her for physical fulfillment.

During the three years that he had been gone, Butterfly waited for him day and night and had declined other offers for marriage. She even had a son that Pinkerton yet knew about. But at the same time Pinkerton had married again to an American lady in America. Butterfly was desperate to receive this news and committed suicide. The ending was heart wrenching.

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