Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
based on the short story by John Luther Long and a drama by David Belasco.
Stage Director: Eugen Platon People's Artist
Set Designer: Felix Bessonov Onorat
Costume Designer: Irina Press Master of Arts RM
Coordinating Director: Mihai Timofti Master of Arts RM
World Premiere: February 17, 1904, at La Scala Theatre, Milano.
Premiere in Chisinau: November 16, 1963, at Moldovan State Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Premiere of current version: March 8, 1986, at Moldovan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Prince Yamadori -
„Puccini doesn’t sing never the happiness he sings aspiration for happiness,
the hope that shows the power of human soul to offer resistance to disappointment”.
The history of creation
„Madame Butterfly was written in Torre del Lago after the documentation of composer on oriental music. Being in Milano he recived from the singer Sada Yacco some Nippon melodies and he commanded mechanic recordings of folk music. Puccini never worked with so much pleasure and he prolonged the writing of each scene in order not to interrupt his imagination. Madame Butterfly creates the impretion of non-interrupted”1.
The action takes place in Japan, Nagasaki, at the beginning of the XX century.
In Nagasaki, in a house on a hill, the marriage of Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly) to the American officer Pinkerton is celebrated. The Consul Sharpless brings to his attention that the young bride takes her marriage very seriously and Pinkerton only sees it as an amusement. Indeed, when her family repudiates her for this relationship, the young woman finds in Pinkerton’s love a comfort that doesn’t look like a mere play.
The wedding is a terse ceremony, more a business deal than an exchange of vows. The post wedding celebration is interrupted by the arrival of the Bonze, Cio-Cio-San's Uncle, a Buddhist priest who berates the young girl for betraying her people and her religion. Pinkerton angrily orders the Bonze away and then turns to his new wife to console her, drying her tears and reminding her night is approaching. She lost her family but anyway she is happy with her husband.
Three years of waiting have passed from her marriage, but Butterfly still hopes that Pinkerton will return. She trusts the love vows and doesn’t understand the advices of the United States Consul, who has the mission to notify her about Pinkerton’s arrival. Yamadori, who came to ask her to marry him, interrupted the discussion. The young woman refuses him. Sharpless tells the truth to Butterfly: Pinkerton will never come back to her and will be better for her to accept the proposal. She disappear and after several minutes, she comes with a wonderful little boy. She is raising their son and refuses any other proposal for marriage. A cannon shot herald announces the boat arrival. She prepares the house for him. She is waiting for him but Pinkerton does not come to their house because he is married with an American woman, Kate.
After a night of waiting, Butterfly falls asleep at dawn. Pinkerton arrives together with the Consul and Kate, his American wife, and tells Suzuki, the maid, the purpose of their visit, to take his son. Butterfly takes the news with a lot of courage. While the little one waits for his father, Butterfly commits suicide, hearing announces her name called one last time by Pinkerton, who climbs the hill in a hurry.