Sunday, June 1, 2014

Opera 101: Puccini's Madama Butterfly

This summer, the Cincinnati Opera’s last opera of the season will be Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Let’s wrap up our opera conversation this month by mentioning this lovely Italian opera dating from the early 20th century.
 

Giacomo Puccini created his own unique style by combining elements of the great opera composers who came before him: Verdi’s gorgeous vocal melodies and Wagner’s leitmotifs. Puccini uses arias, choruses, duets, etc. throughout and blurs the distinction between recitatives and arias used in operas in the prior century.

 
In Madama Butterfly, Puccini blends elements of Western-Romantic music and exoticism by telling the magazine story by John Luther Long of a young geisha who gives up her family and religion to marry American Lieutenant Pinkerton who promises to come retrieve her from Japan. After a three-year wait, he returns with a new wife, leaving young Butterfly heartbroken. Here is a clip showing a famous aria from this opera:

 
 

Do you plan to go see the Cincinnati opera perform this in July?    

Cover of 1906 Vocal Score by Leopoldo Metlicovitz

Butterfly Waits for Pinkerton





 

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