Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Estimated run time 3:12
Act I 54 min / 30 min intermission / Act II 51 min / 24 min intermission / Act III 33 min
World premiere: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1904. Met premiere: February 11, 1907. The title character of Madama Butterfly—a young Japanese geisha who clings to the belief that her arrangement with a visiting American naval officer is a loving and permanent marriage—is one of the defining roles in opera. The story triggers ideas about cultural and sexual imperialism for people far removed from the opera house, and film, Broadway, and popular culture in general have riffed endlessly on it. The lyric beauty of Puccini’s score, especially the music for the thoroughly believable lead role, has made Butterfly timeless.
Leading sopranos Hui He and Ana María Martínez share the heartbreaking title role of the doomed geisha, with tenors Piero Pretti and Andrea Carè as the American naval officer who abandons her. The great Plácido Domingo makes his role debut as Sharpless, alternating with Paulo Szot and Markus Brück. Pier Giorgio Morandi is on the podium for Anthony Minghella’s sweeping production, a perennial audience favorite.
Sponsored by Dr. Victor & Janet Ashear, Christine Gempp Love Foundation, Witzel Family Foundation, Thickman Family Foundation, and Susan Scott Heyneman Foundation