MADAMA BUTTERFLY

by Giacomo Puccini

Hope, devotion, and betrayal find their fateful and desperate home in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.   Amidst the cherry blossoms of Nagasaki, a young woman makes a stand to support herself as a geisha after her disgraced father takes his life. Fate intervenes and brings her an American Naval Officer and she falls desperately in love. Not aware she is just a dalliance, she believes they are married and renounces her religion as he sails away promising to return. And return he does, ready to take their child and raise him with his American wife.  Her father’s shadow looms as her heart breaks and she must choose to live with dishonor or die with honor. 

The music of Madama Butterfly is passionate, poignant and haunting, and will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre.  


All performances at the San Diego Civic Theatre
2 hours 45 minutes with one intermission
In Italian with projected English supertitles - Learn more »

Opera Talk!


Opera Spotlight


PODCASTS

PODCASTS

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meet Teodor Illincai

Our Pinkerton for this production of Madama Butterfly is Romanian tenor Teodor Ilincai. In this interview he talks about the role and, most interestingly, where his love of music and singing came from. This delightful young tenor has a budding career in Europe already, and with this production he is making his U.S. debut.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meet Latonia Moore

Soprano Latonia Moore, our Aida in the 2013 Season, returns to sing the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly. Here she speaks about her life and career since then as well as her outlook on trends in American opera. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Meet J'nai Bridges

Mezzo-soprano J'nai Bridges plays the role of Cio Cio San's maid, Suzuki, in our production of Madama Butterfly. Her background is fascinating (from sports to opera!), her conservatory training exemplary and her voice is...luscious! Enjoy this interview. 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Meet Anthony Clark Evans, baritone

Fresh from the Ryan Center for young artists at Chicago Lyric Opera, Kentucky native Anthony Clark Evans is a singer with a big career ahead of him. He's making his role debut as Sharpless, the American consul, in Madama Butterfly. In this interview with Nic Reveles he talks about his experience as a singer so far and assesses the role in approaching it as a young artist. 



SUGGESTED MEDIA: MADAMA BUTTERFLY

CDs

Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Christa Ludwig, Robert Kerns, Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. DECCA

Leontyne Price, Richard Tucker, Rosalind Elias, Philip Maero, Erich Leinsdorf conducting the RCA Italiana Orchestra. RCA

Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Enkelejda Shkosa, Fabio Capitanucci, Antonio Pappano conducting the Orcestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. WARNER CLASSICS

DVDs

Mirella Freni, Plácido Domingo, Christa Ludwig, Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

Patricia Racette, Marcello Giordani, Maria Zifchak, Dwayne Croft, Patrick Summers conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet. SONY

Alexia Voulgaridou, Teodor Illincai, Cristina Damina, Lauri Vasar, Alexander Joel conducting the Philharmoniker Hamburg and the Chorus of the Staatsoper Hamburg. ARTHAUS Musik (You will need an all-region Blu-ray player for this item)

MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Act I

In the American Consulate in Nagasaki, Goro, a marriage broker, explains the features of a local home to the U.S. Navy Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton, who recently leased the place for 999 years, with the option to cancel the contract with a month’s notice. As part of the deal, Pinkerton receives three servants and takes a geisha wife known as Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San). The American Consul, Sharpless, arrives and Pinkerton explains his philosophy of life—a navy man’s life of pleasure, roaming the seas in search of adventure with a girl in every port. Sharpless cautions the officer that Cio-Cio-San may not take their wedding vows as lightly as he. Pinkerton dismisses the Consul’s warnings and toasts the day he takes a “real” American wife. Cio-Cio-San arrives and explains to Sharpless and Pinkerton that her family was once wealthy, but lost their status. Goro tells them that her father committed suicide on the instructions of the Mikado. Naively but with no shame, she informs the men she became a geisha to stay alive. Cio-Cio-San shows her future husband her meager belongings and humbly declares that, as the ultimate sign of her love, she has converted to the Christian faith. The wedding is brief, more like a business deal. 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 and the other guests away and turns to his new wife to console her, drying her tears as night falls.

Act II

Three years have passed since Pinkerton left Nagasaki, and Cio-Cio-San pines for his return. Realizing they have little money left, Suzuki prays to the gods for aid and warns Cio-Cio-San that unless her husband returns, there’ll be nothing but trouble. Cio-Cio-San scolds Suzuki for her lack of faith and confidently predicts that one fine day his ship will appear on the horizon. Sharpless arrives with the intention of reading to her a recent letter from Pinkerton. Starved for company and brimming with questions, Cio-Cio-San doesn’t allow Sharpless to read the letter. His task is further frustrated by Goro, who hovers outside with the Prince Yamadori, the latest in a long line of suitors hoping for the young woman’s hand. Cio-Cio-San scoffs at Yamadori’s offer and dismisses him and Goro. Once they are gone, Sharpless finally resumes reading the letter to Cio-Cio-San, who excitedly interrupts at the end of every hopeful sentence. Unable to cope with her reactions, Sharpless puts the letter away and bluntly asks her what she would do if Pinkerton never returned. Slowly realizing what Sharpless means, Cio-Cio-San rushes out of the room, returning with Pinkerton’s child. She insists Sharpless tell Pinkerton about the boy, optimistic he will return once he knows about his baby. Sharpless, distraught over Cio-Cio-San’s condition, leaves with a promise to pass along her message. A cannon shot is heard from the harbor. Cio-Cio-San sees Pinkerton’s ship. Excitedly, she and Suzuki strew flowers everywhere. Cio-Cio-San changes into her wedding gown and obi so that Pinkerton will see her the way she was on that memorable day. The family waits.

Act III

As dawn breaks, Suzuki awakens. Pinkerton has not come to the house. Suzuki insists that Cio-Cio-San get some rest, promising to stir her if Pinkerton arrives. Suzuki is startled by the arrival of Sharpless with Pinkerton. An unknown woman waits outside. Suzuki insists on knowing who she is. Pinkerton cannot bring himself to answer. Finally Sharpless responds: she is Pinkerton’s wife, Kate. Sharpless begs the distraught Suzuki to ask Cio-Cio-San to give up the child so that he might be taken to America. Overcome by guilt, Pinkerton cannot face his Japanese wife and flees the home. Cio-Cio-San breathlessly enters, sensing her husband has arrived. Searching every corner, she cannot find Pinkerton but sees Kate. Instinctively, she knows this woman is Pinkerton’s wife. Cio-Cio-San agrees to surrender her child, but only if Pinkerton himself comes to pick him up. Ordering Suzuki away, Cio-Cio-San picks up the dagger her father used to commit suicide and reads the inscription on the blade: “Let him die with honor who can no longer live with honor.”

MADAMA BUTTERFLY POST-OPERA CAST PARTY

Saturday, April 16 at 10:30pm
The US Grant Hotel

Join us immediately following the opening night performance when we’ll journey a few short blocks to The US Grant. We’ll meet the artists from Madama Butterfly and enjoy a wine and champagne reception with light hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Post-Opera Cast Party tickets are $75 per person. ADD TO YOUR TICKET ORDER TODAY!


TASTE OF OPERA Special Event:

The Curious Fork Cooking Class
OPERA CLASSICS: MADAMA BUTTERFLY

The Curious Fork

► Learn More

Friday, February 26, 6:30PM

ADDRESS: 2512 Via de la Valle, Suite 102, Solana Beach, CA 92075
COST: $49 per person
DIRECTIONS: From I-5 San Diego Fwy: Take the Via de la Valle exit, EXIT 36; Go West onto County Hwy-S8/Via de la Valle for less than 1 mile; Your destination is just past Pimlico Dr in same plaza as Pamplemousse (if you reach Del Mar Downs Rd you've gone a little too far)
PARKING: Ample free parking in plaza parking lots

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly tells the story of a geisha torn between tradition and desire through passionate, poignant and haunting, musical scores. Nicolas unfolds the tale while Katherine shares the art of Japanese cuisine. Recipes: Miso Soup with Garlic and Ginger; Salmon and Avocado Sushi Rolls; Togarashi Grilled Steak with Kabocha Squash Rice; Pickled Cucumber and Wakame; Green Tea Ice Cream and Butter Cookies. All dishes are gluten free.


STARS IN THE SALON

Madama Butterfly - April 7, 2016 at 5:30pm

Join the stars of Madama Butterfly in Stars in the Salon. This is a thrilling experience for anyone who loves opera. We welcome our distinguished guest panels for a provocative look at the music, characters and behind-the-scenes work which is so important to each production. The Civic Theatre’s beautiful Beverly Sills Salon acts as the setting for this enjoyable discussion where audience members have a chance to meet the stars and ask their own questions of the leading singers, conductors and directors first hand! All sessions are open to the public and free of charge.

► Learn More