Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly
Sung in Italian with projected English translation
January 23, 2015 - 7:30 PM | January 25, 2015 - 2:00 PM | January 28, 2015 7:30 PM
January 31, 2015 - 7:30 | February 6, 2015 - 7:30 PM | February 8, 2015 - 2:00 PM
When Puccini heard the story of a young Japanese girl who sacrifices everything for a faithless U.S. Navy lieutenant, he knew he had found a winning idea for a new opera and immediately began work on Madame Butterfly. It would become one of the most beloved operas of all time.
Puccini's score, infused with atmospheric Eastern motifs, is mesmerizing. From the passionate Act I love duet, to Butterfly's steadfast declaration of her love, "Un bel di," to the tender, anticipatory beauty of the "Humming Chorus," this is opera for the ages.
Cio-Cio-San - Ana María Martinez
Pinkerton - Alexey Dolgov
Sharpless - Scott Hendricks
Goro - John Easterlin
Conductor - Giancarlo Guerrero
Production - Michael Grandage
Director - Louisa Muller
Set & Costume Designer - Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer - Neil Austin
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Chorus Master - Richard Bado
"Ana Maria Martinez making a memorable role debut with her gloriously sung and powerfully acted Cio-Cio-San." - Houston Chronicle
Alexey Dolgov's "voice has a ringing, heroic tone, with a bold top." - Washington Post
A co-production of Houston Grand Opera, Grand Theatre de Geneve and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, has arranged with the
Nagasaki marriage broker Goro to marry a fifteen-year-old girl,
Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San). By Japanese law, the groom is free to
dissolve the marriage whenever he wants to, and though Pinkerton is
clearly fascinated by his child bride, it is obvious that he
doesn't take the marriage seriously. He says as much to Sharpless,
the American consul, who warns him that Butterfly is in earnest and
tragedy may ensue, but Pinkerton pays no attention. When the
brief ceremony is over, Butterfly's uncle, a Buddhist priest,
arrives in a fury, revealing that the girl has renounced her
people's ancient faith and taken the white man's god. The family,
horrified, deserts Butterfly. She weeps bitterly, but Pinkerton
comforts her, and soon all is forgotten as the two express their
Pinkerton has been gone for three years. Everyone-even her
faithful maid, Suzuki-tells Butterfly that he has forsaken her, but
she steadfastly insists that he will come back, as he promised,
"when the robins make their nest." Goro keeps urging her to marry
his wealthy client, Prince Yamadori. And even Sharpless suggests
that she accept this offer, since he knows that although Pinkerton
is in fact coming back, he is bringing an American wife with him.
Sharpless tries to prepare Butterfly for this blow, but before he
can do so, she reveals that she has had a child by Pinkerton, and
the consul leaves without delivering his message. The harbor cannon
then announces the arrival of a ship. It is Pinkerton's, the USS
Abraham Lincoln. With Suzuki's help, Butterfly decorates
the little house with flowers. Then, with Suzuki and the child,
Butterfly prepares to await Pinkerton's arrival.
Dawn. Butterfly has waited all night. Suzuki persuades her to go and rest, and in her absence from the room, Pinkerton and Sharpless arrive. They break the news to Suzuki and try to enlist her help in persuading Butterfly to give up the child to Kate, Pinkerton's new wife, who has also come but is discreetly waiting outside in the garden. Pinkerton then leaves: the memories of the house and his remorse are too much for him. Kate speaks with Suzuki and then goes out again. Butterfly enters and, horror-stricken, learns the truth. When Kate repeats her request, Butterfly answers that she will give the child to his father if Pinkerton will come back for him in half an hour. Butterfly blindfolds the child and then kills herself. She dies just as Pinkerton runs in, calling her name.