Madama Butterfly

Recently I was at the opera, watching „Madama Butterfly“ by Giacomo Puccini. It´s one of my favorite operas with a touching story and moving melodies.The story:

In 1904, U.S. officer Pinkerton rents a house and a wife in Japan for 999 years with the option to cancel the agreement every month. His beautiful young wife is a former geisha named Cio-Cio-San, nicknamed Butterfly.

Butterfly is deeply in love and proud to marry an American. She even secretly converts from Buddhism to Christianity. Her family finds out and ban her. Butterfly doesn´t care because she is with the man she loves.

Soon after the wedding Pinkerton leaves, promising her to return when the robins build their nests, but in fact he has no intention to come back but to marry his American fiancee.

Even though several people warn Butterfly to trust her husband, she refuses to believe them. In America, marriages are for a lifetime, she thinks. She doesn´t know that her husband has married her with Japanese opt-out-law in mind.

Three years later Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton. She is nearly broke, but still full of confidence. The American Consul, Sharpless, visits her to read her a letter from the officer, announcing that he will come back to Japan but not to her – but she won´t let him finish, because she is so exited about the return of her husband. She reveals that she has a son – Pinkertons son. He didn´t know she was pregnant when he left.

Butterfly prepares the house for Pinkertons return when she sees the ship arriving. In the morning she falls asleep. Just at that time Sharpless, Pinkerton an his American wife Kate arrive at the house. They have come to take the child with them. Kate has agreed to raise the boy to offer him a better life.

When Pinkerton sees how lovingly Butterfly has decorated the house for his return he realizes that he has made a big mistake. He never knew how deeply she loved him while he only exploited her. He cannot face her and runs away, so Kate and Butterflys house maid Suzuki tell her the news.

Butterfly agrees to give her child away – but only to Pinkerton himself. In the meantime, she apologizes to a statue of Buddha, says goodbye to her son and blindfolds him. Then she grabs the dagger of her father. The inscription says: „Who cannot live with honor must die with honor.“ Butterfly stabs herself and collapses when Pinkerton arrives. He screams her name and rushes in but it´s too late…

You can read the full story at Wikipedia: [link]

Pose reference by Sitara-LeotaStock: [link]

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