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Lyrical Opera Theater's Madama Butterfly

Madama Butterfly | June 2014

Opera in three acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THIS TIMELESS TALE OF PASSION AND BETRAYAL.

Madama Butterfly

Synopsis:

Act 1: In 1904, U.S. Naval officer, Pinkerton, rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan in preparation for his marriage to the geisha, Cio-cio-san, nick-named "Butterfly." He is marrying for convenience believing that when he returns to America, the marriage will be automatically dissolved. Upon learning that she is to marry an American, Butterfly secretly converts to Christianity. No sooner has the marriage contract been signed than her uncle, a Japanese Buddhist priest, who has discovered her conversion, comes to the house, curses and renounces her and orders all the guests to leave. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

Act 2: Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton's return, as he had returned to America shortly after their wedding and stubbornly holds onto her faith that he will come back to her refusing to listen to anyone that counsels her otherwise. The American Consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break the news to Butterfly, that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton's son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

From the hill house, Butterfly sees Pinkerton's ship arriving in the harbor. She and Suzuki prepare for his arrival, and then they wait. Suzuki and the child fall asleep, but Butterfly stays up all night waiting for him to arrive.

Act 3: Suzuki wakes up in the morning and Butterfly finally falls asleep. Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton's new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag into his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father's hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in. He is too late.

CAST:

Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, with 1 intermission and 1 five minute pause.

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