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Estrenos de Madame Butterfly

Estrenos de Madame Butterfly


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El 17 de febrero de 1904, la ópera de Giacomo Puccini Madame Butterfly se estrena en el teatro La Scala de Milán, Italia.

El joven Puccini decidió dedicar su vida a la ópera después de ver una representación de Aida de Giuseppe Verdi en 1876. En su vida posterior, escribiría algunas de las óperas más queridas de todos los tiempos: la Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900), Madame Butterfly (1904) y Turandot (dejado sin terminar cuando murió en 1924). Sin embargo, ninguno de estos fue un éxito inmediato cuando se inauguró. la Boheme, la historia ahora clásica de un grupo de artistas pobres que viven en una buhardilla de París, obtuvo críticas mixtas, mientras Tosca fue francamente criticado por los críticos.

Mientras supervisa una producción de Tosca en Londres, Puccini vio la obra Madame Butterfly, escrito por David Belasco y basado en una historia de John Luther Long. Tomado con el fuerte personaje femenino en su centro, comenzó a trabajar en una versión operística de la obra, con un libreto italiano de Giuseppe Giacosa y Luigi Illica. Escrita a lo largo de dos años, incluida una pausa de ocho meses cuando Puccini resultó gravemente herido en un accidente automovilístico, la ópera debutó en Milán en febrero de 1904.

Ambientada en Nagasaki, Japón, Madame Butterfly contó la historia de un marinero estadounidense, B.F. Pinkerton, que se casa y abandona a una joven geisha japonesa, Cio-Cio-San, o Madame Butterfly. Además de la rica y colorida orquestación y las poderosas arias por las que Puccini era conocido, la ópera reflejaba su tema común de vivir y morir por amor. Este tema a menudo se desarrolla en la vida de sus heroínas, mujeres como Cio-Cio-San, que viven por el bien de sus amantes y finalmente son destruidas por el dolor infligido por ese amor.

Quizás debido a la ambientación extranjera de la ópera o quizás porque era demasiado similar a las obras anteriores de Puccini, el público en el estreno reaccionó mal a Madame Butterfly, silbidos y gritos en el escenario. Puccini lo retiró después de una actuación. Trabajó rápidamente para revisar el trabajo, dividiendo el segundo acto de 90 minutos de duración en dos partes y cambiando otros aspectos menores. Cuatro meses después, el renovado Madame Butterfly subió al escenario del Teatro Grande de Brescia. En esta ocasión, el público recibió la ópera con tumultuosos aplausos y repetidos bises, y Puccini fue llamado antes del telón 10 veces. Madame Butterfly tuvo un gran éxito internacional, mudándose a la Ópera Metropolitana de Nueva York en 1907.


Un oficial naval estadounidense, el teniente Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, llega a Japón para asumir sus funciones en un barco atracado en Nagasaki. Por sugerencia de su amigo Sayre, toma una esposa y una casa japonesas durante su estadía allí. Su joven esposa, Cho-Cho-San, es una geisha cuya familia estaba firmemente a favor del matrimonio hasta que Pinkerton les prohibió la visita. Cuando se enteraron de que no se les permitiría visitar, repudiaron a Cho-Cho-San. El barco de Pinkerton finalmente zarpa de Japón. En su ausencia y sin que él lo supiera, ella da a luz a su hijo, un hijo al que llama Trouble. A medida que pasa el tiempo, Cho-Cho-San todavía está convencida de que Pinkerton volverá con ella algún día, pero su doncella, Suzuki, se vuelve cada vez más escéptica. Entonces Goro, un agente matrimonial, llega y le propone que se divorcie de Pinkerton, diciéndole que incluso si él regresa, la dejará y se llevará al niño con él. Propone un marido japonés para que la cuide: Yamadori, un príncipe que había vivido mucho tiempo en Estados Unidos. Aunque no tiene intención de seguir adelante con el plan de Goro, le dice que organice una reunión con Yamadori.

En la reunión, Yamadori le dice a Cho-Cho-San que Pinkerton solo pensó en el matrimonio como algo temporal como era común en Estados Unidos y sugiere que eventualmente se divorciaría de ella y que el bebé podría terminar en un orfanato. En cambio, su propuesta de matrimonio le ofreció la posibilidad de reconciliarse con su familia y quedarse con su bebé. Enojada y molesta por lo que escucha, hace que Suzuki eche a Yamadori y al agente matrimonial de la casa. Luego visita al cónsul estadounidense en Nagasaki, el Sr. Sharpless, en un intento de disipar sus temores y pedirle ayuda para que Pinkerton regrese. A medida que se desarrolla su historia, Sharpless siente un desprecio creciente por Pinkerton. Ella le pide que le escriba a Pinkerton y le diga que se va a casar con Yamadori y que se llevará a su hijo con ella si no regresa. Sin embargo, ella dice que no tiene ninguna intención de hacer esto realmente y solo quiere gastarle una "broma". Sharpless le dice gentilmente que no pudo participar en tal engaño. Él la anima a aceptar la oferta de Yamadori y reconciliarse con su familia.

Pasan las semanas con Cho-Cho-San escudriñando ansiosamente el horizonte en busca de la llegada del barco de Pinkerton. Finalmente, lo ve entrar en el puerto y se siente abrumada por la emoción. Ella y Suzuki preparan la casa con flores para darle la bienvenida. Cho-Cho-San se viste con su mejor kimono. Luego, ella, Suzuki y el bebé se esconden detrás de una pantalla shoji con la intención de sorprenderlo cuando llegue. Esperan toda la noche, pero Pinkerton nunca llega. Una semana después, ven un vapor de pasajeros en el puerto. En la cubierta está Pinkerton con una joven rubia. Una vez más, ella y Suzuki lo esperaron toda la noche en vano. A la mañana siguiente, su barco de guerra se marcha del puerto. Angustiada, visita a Sharpless para preguntarle si había escrito a Pinkerton y por qué se fue sin verla. Para evitar sus sentimientos, Sharpless le dice que, de hecho, le había escrito a Pinkerton, que estaba de camino a verla, pero tenía muchas obligaciones que realizar y, de repente, su barco recibió la orden de ir a China. Cho-Cho-San está triste pero aliviado. Entonces la mujer rubia del vapor entra a la oficina, se identifica como la esposa de Pinkerton y le pide al Cónsul que envíe el siguiente telegrama a su esposo:

"Acabo de ver al bebé y a su niñera. ¿No podemos tenerlo de una vez? Es encantador. Veré a la madre mañana. No estaba en casa cuando estuve allí hoy. Espero reunirme contigo el miércoles por la semana. Kioto Maru. ¿Puedo traerlo? Adelaide ".

Desesperado, Cho-Cho-San se apresura a volver a casa. Se despide de Suzuki y del bebé y se encierra en su habitación para suicidarse con la espada de su padre. Después del primer golpe de espada, vacila. Aunque está sangrando, la herida no es fatal. Mientras levanta la espada de nuevo, Suzuki entra silenciosamente a la habitación con el bebé y lo pellizca para hacerlo llorar. Cho-Cho-San deja caer la espada al suelo. Mientras el bebé gatea sobre el regazo de Cho-Cho-San, Suzuki le venda la herida. La historia termina con las palabras: "Cuando la Sra. Pinkerton llamó al día siguiente a la casita de Higashi Hill, estaba bastante vacía".


¿Basado en una historia real?

En las notas del dramaturgo al comienzo de la edición publicada de M. mariposa, explica que la historia se inspiró inicialmente en hechos reales: un diplomático francés llamado Bernard Bouriscot se enamoró de una cantante de ópera "a quien durante veinte años creyó que era una mujer" (citado en Hwang). Ambos hombres fueron condenados por espionaje. En Hwang's after, explica que el artículo de noticias generó una idea para una historia, y desde ese momento el dramaturgo dejó de investigar los hechos reales, queriendo crear sus propias respuestas a las preguntas que muchos tenían sobre el diplomático y su amante.

Además de sus raíces no ficticias, la obra también es una inteligente deconstrucción de la ópera de Puccini, Madama Butterfly.


Historial de rendimiento

Madama butterfly se estrenó por primera vez en uno de los teatros de ópera más conocidos de Italia, La scala. La actuación fracasó a pesar de la aparición de algunos de los elencos más célebres como la soprano Rosina Storchio (Jenkins, 2010, p. 10).

Se tomaron muchas malas decisiones durante los ensayos de la ópera, como puede observarse por el alto nivel de secreto mantenido por los productores de la ópera, quienes a su vez recomendaron que los guiones de los actores no salieran del teatro (Jenkins, 2010, p. 13). La medida también estuvo motivada por el hecho de que los productores no querían que los cantantes descuidados perdieran sus guiones musicales (Jenkins, 2010, p. 13).

Esto contribuyó en gran medida al escaso dominio de la música por parte de los intérpretes. Además, los guiones impresos debían ser dominados por el elenco, una página a la vez, ya que la impresión se hacía de forma secuencial y lenta (Jenkins, 2010, p. 13). A la prensa también se le prohibió asistir a los ensayos y, por lo tanto, la mayoría de los agentes de los medios y críticos se irritaron antes del estreno, lo que los llevó a buscar pequeñas fallas en la representación de la ópera (Jenkins, 2010, p. 13).

Madama Butterfly también se estrenó en 1904 en Buernos Aries, Argentina mientras que en Londres, se estrenó en 1905 en la Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Jenkins, 2010, p. 14). En Estados Unidos, la ópera se estrenó por primera vez en Washington DC en el teatro Columbia en 1906 y en Nueva York, la primera representación tuvo lugar el 12 de noviembre del mismo año en el teatro Garden y por último, en Australia, se realizó la primera representación. en el Teatro Real en 1906 (Jenkins, 2010, p. 16).


Madama Butterfly

Inicio: 20.00 (domingos: 18.30) |

La producción es posible gracias a una subvención de la Fundación Stavros Niarchos (SNF) [www.SNF.org] para mejorar el alcance artístico de la Ópera Nacional Griega

En el contexto de las nuevas medidas preventivas contra la propagación del coronavirus anunciadas por el Gobierno, incluida la suspensión del funcionamiento de los teatros durante un mes a partir del 3 de noviembre de 2020, la Ópera Nacional Griega anuncia:
La suspensión de las dos últimas funciones de Madama Butterfly que estaban previstas para los días 8 y 15 de noviembre.
Todos los poseedores de entradas de las actuaciones suspendidas serán contactados por la taquilla de la Ópera Nacional Griega para ofrecerles un reembolso o la posibilidad de canjear sus entradas por otra fecha de actuación o por otra producción. Centro de atención telefónica de GNO Box Office: 2130885700 (todos los días de 09:00 a 21:00).

Debido a la pandemia de Covid-19, la ópera se presentará con la instrumentación de Ettore Panizza para orquesta reducida (ed. Ricordi)

De Giacomo Puccini Madama Butterfly es un hito para la Ópera Nacional Griega, ya que es la primera ópera que representa como una organización recién fundada, el 25 de octubre de 1940, tres días antes de la declaración de la guerra greco-italiana. A ese histórico estreno, celebrado en el escenario principal del Teatro Nacional, asistieron el hijo del compositor, Antonio Puccini, y el embajador de Italia en Atenas, Emanuele Grazzi, quien, unas horas más tarde, entregaría al gobierno griego el ultimátum italiano con amenaza de guerra.
Este año, que marca el 80 aniversario de la Ópera Nacional Griega, Mariposa regresa al nuevo hogar de la GNO, en el Centro Cultural de la Fundación Stavros Niarchos, no solo para celebrar el aniversario, sino también para señalar el regreso de la GNO a la acción después de la pandemia, y para mostrar que el arte y la cultura no solo sobreviven en las condiciones más adversas , sino que también constituyen el motor impulsor del hombre y la sociedad.
El director artístico de la Ópera Nacional Griega, Giorgos Koumendakis, señala: “Elegimos este gran trabajo porque este octubre marca el 80 aniversario de Mariposa estreno histórico en la GNO el 25 de octubre de 1940, tres días antes del inicio de la guerra greco-italiana. El simbolismo es obvio: el GNO siempre ha estado presente y valiente en tiempos muy difíciles y ha logrado mantenerse erguido incluso en circunstancias absolutamente desafiantes, tanto en ese entonces como en la actualidad ”.

Famoso por sus maravillosas arias, música sorprendentemente melódica y teatralidad dramática, Madama Butterfly ofrece una emoción atemporal y desencadena sentimientos intensos. Puccini no duda en calificarla como su ópera favorita, y con sus modificaciones posteriores hace de la figura de alabastro de su heroína un símbolo de paciencia inagotable y amor eterno y constante.

La ópera cuenta la historia de la fatal historia de amor de la geisha Cio-Cio-San, de quince años, con Pinkerton, un teniente de la Armada de los Estados Unidos. Luego de tres años de ausencia el teniente regresa a Japón con su esposa estadounidense, cuando se entera de que tiene un hijo de Butterfly. Ella acepta entregar al niño solo al propio Pinkerton y luego se suicida.

La dirección, escenografía y vestuario de la producción, que se estrenó en 2013 en el Odeón de Herodes Atticus y ahora se revive en una nueva versión adaptada al escenario de la Sala Stavros Niarchos, lleva el sello del célebre director argentino Huge de Ana. Es una producción impresionante con trajes tradicionales japoneses, mientras que los decorados y las proyecciones de video ilustran de manera impresionante el país del sol naciente por un lado y la psique de la heroína por el otro. Las videoproyecciones están diseñadas por Sergio Metalli y la iluminación por Valerio Alfieri.

El reparto incluye grandes protagonistas griegos y extranjeros. El papel principal lo interpretan tres destacadas sopranos de carrera internacional, Ermonela Jaho, Cellia Costea y Kristīne Opolais.

Ermonela Jaho nació en Albania y vive en Nueva York. Ella ha sido descrita por el Economista como "la soprano más aclamada del mundo". Es famosa por sus interpretaciones únicas y su identificación con las heroínas que interpreta. Aparece en los teatros de ópera más importantes del mundo, desde América y Australia hasta Europa y Asia, y ha colaborado con célebres solistas, directores y directores. Específicamente para su interpretación de Madama Butterfly, las críticas han sido delirantes, siendo las más elogiadas Independientes sobre la interpretación de Jaho en Covent Garden: "Jaho es la mejor Madama Butterfly que Londres ha visto en años".

La distinguida soprano Cellia Costea de la Ópera Nacional Griega ha colaborado con los teatros más prestigiosos del mundo como la Ópera de Viena, la Deutsche Oper de Berlín, el Concertgebouw de Ámsterdam, la Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, Londres), así como los teatros de Stuttgart, Bergen, Oslo, Marsella, Lieja. , Barcelona, ​​Milán, Catania, Palermo, Modena, Piacenza, Beijing, Seúl, Tokio, Singapur y Atenas en roles como Marguerite (Fausto), Nedda (Pagliacci), Micaela (Carmen), Leonora (Il trovatore), Desdémona (Otello), Elisabetta (Don carlos), Liù (Turandot), Mimì (La Boheme), Tosca, Elena (Yo vespri siciliani).

La soprano letona Kristīne Opolais apareció por primera vez en Grecia en las primeras etapas de su carrera en 2008 en la Ópera Nacional Griega Tosca, dejando excelentes impresiones. Inmediatamente después de eso, su carrera se lanzó y muy pronto emergió como una de las sopranos más buscadas del mundo, ya que combina de manera impresionante una presencia escénica única con el efecto dramático y el metal en su voz. Su debut en el Met en 2014 le dio reconocimiento mundial ya que en solo dos días actuó con gran éxito tanto Butterfly como Mimì en La Boheme. De hecho, ese mismo año, después de sus apariciones en la Royal Opera House de Londres, Telégrafo la describió como “la principal soprano Puccini de hoy”.

Completan el reparto los tenores Gianluca Terranova y Dimitris Paksoglou, los barítonos Dionysios Sourbis y Nikos Kotenidis, la mezzosoprano Chryssanthi Spitadi y multitud de solistas griegos.

Madama Butterfly de un vistazo
EL COMPOSITOR
Giacomo Puccini nació en Lucca, Toscana, el 22 de diciembre de 1858. Quinto de siete hijos, nació en una familia que había provisto a su ciudad natal de músicos –organistas, directores y compositores de la iglesia, principalmente de música sacra– para la anterior cuatro generaciones. Sigue siendo hasta el día de hoy uno de los compositores más reconocidos de la ópera italiana, ya que sus obras se representan regularmente en todo el mundo. Su estilo musical ya estaba claramente desarrollado por su tercera ópera, Manon Lescaut (1893), mientras que sus siguientes tres composiciones, La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900) y Madama Butterfly (1904), estableció firmemente a Puccini como heredero de Verdi. Las bellas melodías y la intensa teatralidad que definen sus óperas cumplieron con éxito las exigencias de su época. Su última ópera, Turandot (1926), quedó incompleta debido a su muerte en 1924.

LA OPERA
A tragedia giapponese a un libreto de Giuseppe Giacosa y Luigi Illica, Madama Butterfly se basa en la obra de un acto Madame Butterfly (1900) del dramaturgo estadounidense David Belasco, basado en un cuento de 1898 de otro escritor estadounidense, John Luther Long. Esto, a su vez, se basó en parte en la novela francesa de Pierre Loti Madame Chrysanthème (1887). La ópera narra el trágico amor de Cio-Cio-San, una geisha de quince años, por Pinkerton, un oficial naval estadounidense. Después de una ausencia de tres años, el oficial regresa a Japón con su esposa estadounidense, tras saber que tiene un hijo de Butterfly. Ella acepta darle a Pinkerton el niño, pero se suicida poco después.

ESTRENOS
Madama Butterfly La primera versión en dos actos se estrenó en el Teatro alla Scala de Milán el 17 de febrero de 1904. Una versión revisada en tres actos se representó el 28 de mayo de 1904 en el Teatro Grande de Brescia. La versión en la que se presenta habitualmente la ópera en la actualidad se basa en la versión de Opéra Comique, que se representó en París el 28 de diciembre de 1906.

ACTO I
Nagasaki, principios del siglo XX. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, teniente de la Marina de los Estados Unidos, está arreglando con Goro, un agente matrimonial japonés, los últimos detalles de su próximo matrimonio con Cio-Cio-San, una geisha de quince años también conocida como Butterfly. Pinkerton informa a Sharpless, el cónsul de los Estados Unidos, que en Japón un esposo puede romper su matrimonio en cualquier momento. En vano, Sharpless intenta advertirle de que la adolescente seguramente se tomará el matrimonio en serio.
La novia llega con sus amigos y familiares. Ella le muestra a Pinkerton sus pocas posesiones, incluida la estrecha funda que contiene la daga con la que su padre se suicidó. Inmediatamente después de la ceremonia llega Bonze, el tío de Butterfly, y la denuncia por haber renunciado a su fe, instando al resto de sus familiares a hacer lo mismo. Cio-Cio-San se queda sola con Pinkerton, quien intenta consolarla. Suzuki, su doncella, la ayuda a vestirse para su noche de bodas y Butterfly se une a Pinkerton en el jardín.

ACTO II
Tres años después, en la misma residencia, Cio-Cio-San está solo con Suzuki. A pesar de que Pinkerton se fue a su país de origen poco después de la boda y nunca regresó, Cio-Cio-San se mantiene fiel a él y sueña con el día en que lo volverá a ver. Aparece Sharpless: quiere prepararla para el regreso de Pinkerton con su esposa estadounidense. Cio-Cio-San se niega a escuchar y le muestra a Sharpless su hijo de Pinkerton. Decora la casa para su llegada y se instala para una noche de espera junto a Suzuki y el niño.
Al amanecer, Cio-Cio-San, que se quedó despierta toda la noche, lleva a su hijo a otra habitación y le canta para dormir. Pinkerton y Sharpless aparecen y le piden a Suzuki que hable con la esposa estadounidense del primero. Pinkerton recuerda el pasado. Lleno de remordimiento, elige no enfrentarse a Cio-Cio-San y se va. Mariposa entra en busca de su marido. Para su consternación, ve a la extraña mujer en el jardín y Sharpless y Suzuki le informan que Pinkerton nunca volverá con ella. Ella parece aceptar la situación e incluso accede a darle a Pinkerton su hijo, si viene a llevárselo él mismo. Luego pide que la dejen sola y decide terminar con su vida. En un esfuerzo por detenerla, Suzuki envía a su hijo. Butterfly se despide de él, le ata los ojos y se suicida justo cuando llega Pinkerton.

Director, decorados, vestuario
Hugo de Ana

Diseñador de proyección de video
Sergio Metalli - Ideogamma SRL

Diseñador de iluminación
Valerio Alfieri

Maestro de coro
Agathangelos Georgakatos

Cio-Cio-San
Ermonela Jaho (14, 16, 20 y 25 de octubre de 2020)
Cellia Costea (15 de noviembre de 2020)
Kristīne Opolais (18, 23, 30/10 y 1, 8/11/2020)

Suzuki
Chrysanthi Spitadi (14, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 30/10 y 1, 8, 15/11/2020)

Kate Pinkerton
Violetta Lousta (16, 18, 20, 23 y 25 de octubre de 2020)
Diamanti Kritsotaki (14, 30/10 y 1, 8, 15/11/2020)

B. F. Pinkerton
Gianluca Terranova (16, 20, 23 y 25 de octubre de 2020)
Dimitris Paksoglou (14, 18, 30/10 y 1, 8,15 / 11/2020)

Afilado
Dionysios Sourbis (16, 20, 23 y 25 de octubre de 2020)
Nikos Kοtenidis (14, 18, 30/10 y 1, 8, 15/11/2020)

Goro
Nicholas Stefanou (16, 20, 23, 25 de octubre de 2020)
Yannis Kalyvas (14, 18, 30/10 y 1, 8, 15/11/2020)

Bonzo
Yanni Yannissis (16, 20, 23, 25/10 y 11/1/2020)
Dimitris Kassioumis (14, 18, 30/10 y 8, 15/11/2020)

Comisionado imperial
Dionisos Tsantinis (16, 20, 25/10 y 1, 15/11/2020)
Georgios Papadimitriou (14, 18, 23, 30/10 y 8/11/2020)

Registrador oficial
Theodoros Aivaliotis (16, 20, 25/10 y 1, 15/11/2020)
Theodoros Moraitis (14, 18, 23, 30/10 y 8/11/2020)

Madre de Cio-Cio-San
Amalia Avloniti (16, 20, 25/10 y 1, 15/11/2020)
Zoe Apiranthitou (14, 18, 23, 30/10 y 8/11/2020)

Tía
Vaia Kofou (16, 20, 25/10 y 1, 15/11/2020)
Elizaveta Klonovskaya (14, 18, 23, 30/10 y 8/11/2020)

Primo
Fotini Hadjidaki (16, 20, 25/10 y 1, 15/11/2020)
Thei Stavrou (14, 18, 23, 30/10 y 8/11/2020)

Con la Orquesta, Coro y Solistas de la GNO

Precio de las entradas: 15 €, 20 €, 30 €, 35 €, 42 €, 50 €, 55 €, 70 €
Estudiantes, niños: 12 €
Asientos con visibilidad limitada: 10 €

En línea con las medidas restrictivas para la protección de la salud pública contra la propagación del coronavirus (COVID-19) anunciadas por el Gobierno griego, la Sala Stavros Niarchos de la Ópera Nacional Griega funcionará al 30% de su capacidad máxima, es decir, con 420 asientos fuera. de un total de 1.400. Además, se hace notar que según las instrucciones del Estado griego, las entradas solo se comprarán online o por teléfono, el uso de máscara será obligatorio al entrar y salir del edificio y durante las actuaciones, a ambos lados de cada asiento ( individual o doble), quedarán al menos dos asientos vacíos, se evitará el hacinamiento y se mantendrá la distancia física prescrita entre los espectadores y entre el público y el escenario / orquesta, mientras se establezcan protocolos especiales para la limpieza y desinfección. , aire acondicionado y sistema de ventilación de todas las áreas del GNO en el SNFCC.

Ópera Nacional Griega - Stavros Niarchos Hall
Centro Cultural Fundación Stavros Niarchos

Inicio: 20.00 (domingos: 18.30) |

ACTO I
Nagasaki, principios del siglo XX. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, teniente de la Marina de los Estados Unidos, está arreglando con Goro, un agente matrimonial japonés, los últimos detalles de su próximo matrimonio con Cio-Cio-San, una geisha de quince años también conocida como Butterfly. Pinkerton informa a Sharpless, el cónsul de los Estados Unidos, que en Japón un esposo puede romper su matrimonio en cualquier momento. En vano, Sharpless intenta advertirle de que la adolescente seguramente se tomará el matrimonio en serio.
La novia llega con sus amigos y familiares. Ella le muestra a Pinkerton sus pocas posesiones, incluida la estrecha funda que contiene la daga con la que su padre se suicidó. Inmediatamente después de la ceremonia llega Bonze, el tío de Butterfly, y la denuncia por haber renunciado a su fe, instando al resto de sus familiares a hacer lo mismo. Cio-Cio-San se queda sola con Pinkerton, quien intenta consolarla. Suzuki, su doncella, la ayuda a vestirse para su noche de bodas y Butterfly se une a Pinkerton en el jardín.

ACTO II
Tres años después, en la misma residencia, Cio-Cio-San está solo con Suzuki. A pesar de que Pinkerton se fue a su país de origen poco después de la boda y nunca regresó, Cio-Cio-San se mantiene fiel a él y sueña con el día en que lo volverá a ver. Aparece Sharpless: quiere prepararla para el regreso de Pinkerton con su esposa estadounidense. Cio-Cio-San se niega a escuchar y le muestra a Sharpless su hijo de Pinkerton. Decora la casa para su llegada y se acomoda a una noche de espera junto a Suzuki y el niño.
Al amanecer, Cio-Cio-San, que se quedó despierta toda la noche, lleva a su hijo a otra habitación y le canta para dormir. Pinkerton y Sharpless aparecen y le piden a Suzuki que hable con la esposa estadounidense del primero. Pinkerton recuerda el pasado. Lleno de remordimiento, elige no enfrentarse a Cio-Cio-San y se va. Mariposa entra en busca de su marido. Para su consternación, ve a la extraña mujer en el jardín y Sharpless y Suzuki le informan que Pinkerton nunca volverá con ella. Ella parece aceptar la situación e incluso accede a darle a Pinkerton su hijo, si viene a llevárselo él mismo. Luego pide que la dejen sola y decide terminar con su vida. En un esfuerzo por detenerla, Suzuki envía a su hijo. Butterfly se despide de él, le ata los ojos y se suicida justo cuando llega Pinkerton.


La realización de Madame Butterfly - Tercera parte. El libreto.

NOTA: El escritor asume que el lector ha leído los otros "capítulos" si el lector no lo ha hecho, el escritor le pide respetuosamente que lo haga, aunque solo sea para tener claridad sobre las personas no operísticas y sus obras que se mencionan a continuación. Aparte de eso, están bien redactados, son informativos y ... vaya: ¡el escritor no debería presumir!

Con una ópera lanzada con éxito en Italia y solicitada en otros lugares, a Giacomo Puccini le gustaba "supervisar" producciones en las principales ciudades, mientras buscaba su próximo tema. Así estuvo en Londres en el verano de 1900 para el estreno en Covent Garden de su última ópera, Tosca. En una noche libre durante su estadía de seis semanas, fue al Duke of York's Theatre, donde se representaban un par de obras de un solo acto: Miss Hobbs de Jerome K. Jerome y Madame Butterfly de David Belasco. El traslado de Broadway a Londres de la adaptación teatral de David Belasco de la historia de John Luther Long afectó profundamente al compositor italiano, especialmente la llamada "Vigil Scene", donde Butterfly, Suzuki y Trouble esperan el regreso de Pinkerton a su casa: la transición de La tarde, la noche, el amanecer y la mañana completa, fue una demostración del genio de Belasco para aprovechar la cosa relativamente nueva conocida como "luz eléctrica".

Belasco, años después, dijo que Puccini llegó a su camerino después de la actuación, pidiendo los derechos de actuación. El autor / director estuvo de acuerdo de inmediato. Pregunta 1: ¿Por qué el director / autor tendría su propio camerino? Pregunta 2: ¿Por qué un director / autor estadounidense se quedaría en Londres después de que su obra fuera lanzada con éxito? Creo que Belasco, con Madama Butterfly de gran éxito en todos los teatros de ópera, estaba tratando de reclamar una pequeña propiedad de la ópera de Puccini.

Al compositor inicialmente le gustó la obra porque presentaba un conflicto entre los valores y las culturas de Estados Unidos y Japón, quedó impresionado por el efecto visual de la "Escena de la vigilia" y le encantó el suicidio de Butterfly al final. Sin embargo, le escribió a un amigo que la obra era "muy hermosa, pero no para Italia". A pesar de los recuerdos de Belasco, Puccini no se mostró reacio, en su viaje a casa, a preguntarse en París si los derechos de la última y sensacional novela de Émile Zola, La faute de l'Abbé Mouret, estaban disponibles: se los habían prometido a Jules Massenet, el compositor. de Manon y Werther. Decepcionado, notó que había regresado de Londres "un compositor de ópera desempleado", pero le pidió a Ricordi que investigara la posibilidad de obtener los derechos de Madame Butterfly. Y hubo discusiones con Illica sobre un libreto basado en la condenada María Antonieta, una posible adaptación de la vasta novela Los miserables de Victor Hugo, o tal vez la obra Cyrano de Bergerac de Edmond Rostand. Puccini se sintió cada vez más atraído por el de un acto de Belasco: "Creo que en lugar de un acto podría hacer dos bastante largos: el primero en Norteamérica, el segundo en Japón ..."

El primer éxito operístico de Puccini, Manon Lescaut, en 1893, involucró el trabajo de cinco libretistas, sin incluir al editor del compositor Ricordi y al compositor mismo. Posteriormente, Puccini se redujo a solo dos: Luigi Illica, quien dramatizó el material original, y Giuseppe Giacoso, quien convirtió el texto de Illica en poesía cantable.

En marzo de 1901, Puccini envió a Illica una traducción al italiano (admitiendo que no era muy buena) de la historia de John Luther Long Madame Butterfly para darle una idea de su próxima ópera proyectada, pero señaló que la obra, especialmente el final, era mucho más eficaz. En mayo, Illica envió su escenario detallado del primer acto, basado tanto en Madame Chrysanthème de Loti como en la historia de Long, admitió que estaba sobreescrito y sabía que se harían recortes a medida que avanzara el trabajo.

La mayor diferencia entre este primer borrador y la ópera que conocemos hoy está en la relación entre el marinero estadounidense Pinkerton y el cónsul estadounidense Sharpless. ¡Nuestro Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton se llamaba, en ese borrador, Sir Francis Blummy Pinkerton! La historia de Long menciona "Mr. B. F. Pikkerton ”. Tal vez Illica pensó que "Señor" (como en "Sí, señor") era una forma educada de "Señor" en lugar del resultado de un monarca británico que le confirió el título de caballero (como en SIR Ian McKellan) "Francis" es un nombre aceptable, pero ¿de dónde vino “Blummy”? ¿El vago recuerdo de Illica de la exclamación en inglés "¡Vaya!"?

Sharpless parece más joven que el cónsul, ahora sabemos que aprueba la depredación sexual de Pinkerton, y le divierte la "comedia" del matrimonio del joven al estilo "japonés". Pinkerton lo considera simplemente un acuerdo comercial: nunca podría aceptar una "novia" japonesa seriamente como mujer o esposa. Juntos se burlan de la "pequeñez" que los japoneses admiran, y ambos piensan que es absurda la tradición japonesa de nombrar a las personas con el nombre de flores o insectos. En su aria Pinkerton usa muchas palabras en inglés para describir cómo el “Yankee” conquista el mundo. El segundo verso, con su descripción de Butterfly, no es más que una lista de los estereotipos orientales que nos da Loti.
Después de haber escrito el libreto de la ópera Iris de Mascagni de 1898, una pieza espeluznante (y no muy exitosa) ambientada en Japón, Illica debe haberse sentido eminentemente calificado, armado con traducciones de la historia de Long y la novela de Loti, para proporcionar a Puccini un libreto para Madama Butterfly. . En abril de 1901, recibió la noticia de que Ricordi había recibido los derechos de la obra de Belasco. ¿Por qué pagar a Belasco ?, se preguntó Illica. ¡Todo lo que necesitaba para el libreto estaba en la historia de Long! Ricordi, incluso con los derechos de la obra, no estaba convencido de la viabilidad de la pieza y sus dudas no fueron mitigadas por una carta de Illica que cuestionaba el papel de Pinkerton: 1) no es comprensivo en el Acto 1 y, 2) no lo hace. Reaparecerá hasta el final de la ópera, donde se muestra aún más antipático. Una nueva traducción de la historia de Long, encargada por Puccini a una mujer estadounidense anónima, en realidad no cambió nada. En junio, Puccini encontró una versión italiana del guión de Belasco que envió a Ricordi, quien finalmente se convenció de que podía funcionar.

Illica inicialmente consideró un libreto en 2 actos: el primero un Prólogo, y el segundo dividido en tres escenas: la casa de las Mariposas y la casa del Consulado. Somewhere along the way that was altered to three acts: Butterfly’s House (Long’s story with lots of “local color” taken from Loti’s novel) The Consulate (Long’s story) Butterfly’s House (Belasco’s stage adaptation of Long). Illica, Giacoso and Ricordi worked on the libretto: Illica wrote the “script,” Giacoso turned that into poetry, with Ricordi acting as a kind of referee between the two. In mid-June 1902, a copy of the revised text-so-far was sent to the composer.

Silence from Puccini. Until November. When he wrote to Giacoso asking to meet to discuss changes followed by letters to Ricordi, Illica and Giacoso to say that the scene in the American Consulate had to go. He warned Ricordi that the scene was a terrible mistake, interrupting the inevitable progression of the tragedy, and would surely result in a fiasco. He flattered Illica, writing that Act One (the marriage of Pinkerton and Butterfly) must be his, but that Act Two must be Belasco’s, with its total concentration on the tragic plight of the heroine. The East (Japan)-West (America) culture-clash Puccini originally considered was greatly reduced. Illica agreed with Puccini’s assessment of the situation. Ricordi feared that the opera would now be too short for a full evening and would have to be performed in tandem with some other shortish piece it took some persuasion from both Illica and Puccini to convince Ricordi the cut was dramatically necessary.
Giacoso was incensed. He agreed that the scene was not in Belasco’s play, but their first act wasn’t either losing this scene would remove “many exquisite poetic details.” Why not, he suggested, rewrite the entire libretto to conform totally to the stage adaptation? The first act was already composed, so that was not a valid option.

Madame Butterfly – The Minnesota Opera

Eventually he calmed down and work began on the revisions demanded by the scene’s elimination. For the scene at the Consulate contained much that was vital to the drama. As the curtain rises, Sharpless is working at his desk. Pinkerton enters almost immediately we find out that he has been married for a year to an American who is with him in Nagasaki, and that he has told his wife about his “marriage” to Butterfly. They have no children, and she suggested they take his child back to America with them. Sharpless thinks it’s a good idea, but is horrified that Kate has already gone to Butterfly’s house. He berates Pinkerton for his callous treatment of Butterfly, who has remained utterly faithful to him for the past three years. In an aria Pinkerton recalls happy memories of his time spent with Butterfly, and his deep remorse for his neglect of her he gives the Consul money to pass on to Butterfly, and leaves. Sharpless is disgusted. Butterfly now appears with the great news that Pinkerton’s ship arrived yesterday she waited all night for him to come home. Has Sharpless seen him, spoken to him, why didn’t he come to the house? Does he know about the baby? Yes, Sharpless told him in fact, he wants to take the baby with him. Butterfly is delighted at the thought of moving to America and wonders if Suzuki might come too. Before Sharpless can reply, Kate Pinkerton enters. Butterfly stands thunderstruck, staring at Kate, while the Consul signs to Kate to be silent, and quietly tells Butterfly to leave. She refuses. Kate finally notices her and approaches “la bella bambina!” Quickly she realizes who the “bambina” is. Patronizingly Kate tells her that no-one is accusing her, or blaming her: “You are a beautiful toy”. She tells Butterfly that the child will be loved and cared for she knows it’s very sad, but it’s for the child’s good. Sharpless encourages Kate to leave – “Will she give us the child?” “In about two hours, climb the hill.” Kate leaves. Butterfly returns Pinkerton’s money, telling the consul she has no use for it. “Will I see you again?” “Perhaps. In about two hours climb the hill.” The curtain falls rapidly.

We know most of this because it was absorbed, with some minor changes, into what became the Second Part of Act Two. The scene in the Consulate does enhance the characters of both Pinkerton and Sharpless, making their roles more attractive to star tenors and baritones. But…?? Puccini was correct in his assessment – the scene does slacken the tension when it should be building towards Butterfly’s suicide.

On February 25, 1903, Puccini was seriously injured when his car plunged down a fifteen-foot embankment he was found, almost asphyxiated, under the vehicle, with a compound fracture of his right leg. Recovery was slow. It wasn’t until early June that he resumed work on the score. The orchestration was finished on the evening of December 27, 1903. The first performance was scheduled for mid-February 1904.

What did the audience in La Scala read in the libretto published for that February evening? (They certainly didn’t hear much, thanks to the various whistles, cat-calls, and aspersive comments from the gallery, answered by shouts for silence!)

The first scene between Goro and Pinkerton is much as you’ll hear it today, except for Pinkerton’s reaction to Goro’s introduction, using their Japanese names, of the servants: “Stupid, silly names – I’ll call them mugs – Mug One, Mug Two, Mug Three.” Sharpless arrives, and their conversation on that February night, with Pinkerton’s two solos, remains unchanged. Also unchanged is Butterfly’s entrance with her girl-friends. Sharpless, ever the diplomat, engages Butterfly in harmless questions about her family. Harmless until he asks about her father: dead, but it’s obviously a sensitive topic. To relieve the embarrassment, Butterfly tells Pinkerton about her other relatives. One uncle is a Bonze (a traditional Japanese priest) – “incredibly wise a fountain of eloquence,” comment Goro and the girls the other uncle is a bit light-headed – “a drunk,” say the girls.

Sharpless wonders how old Butterfly is. He considers fifteen to be a time for playing with dolls, but Pinkerton thinks it’s the perfect age for marriage. He summons his three “Mugs” and tells them to pass around the candied spiders and flies the nests baked in pastry and the worst, sick-making liquor in Japan – he uses the adjective Nipponeria, which sounds pejorative.

Now arrive the High Commissioner and the Registrar Butterfly’s relations, including her Mother , Uncle Yakusidé (the drunk), an aunt and a first cousin with her son. There follows an ensemble where some of the relatives consider Pinkerton to be beneath them while others think him handsome and wealthy Uncle Y. is looking for wine Goro tries to quiet everyone down Pinkerton sings of her beauty and how she excites him Sharpless congratulates him on finding such a treasure, but warns him that she believes in him and in this wedding.
Goro introduces the officials to Pinkerton, and each bows to the other the relatives join the introductions with their own bowing, until Pinkerton complains that his back has done enough bowing for one day. Butterfly introduces her Mother, then her Cousin and her son and finally Uncle Yakusidé. The relatives crowd around the tables that have been laden with food the stage direction reads: “Butterfly seats her mother and cousin close to her, trying to restrain their greediness.” Sharpless, as American Consul, formally introduces “Sir Francis Blummy Pinkerton” to the Japanese officials who reply in their native language.

Now follows Pinkerton’s conversation with Butterfly about the things she has brought with her. The Commissioner begins his wedding announcement, but is interrupted when the relatives catch Yakusidé and the child raiding the remains of the food. The official documents signed, the Japanese officials leave with Sharpless.

Pinkerton is left with his new relations. He pours whiskey for the uncle, then gives him the bottle Butterfly stops him from offering a drink to her mother he invites the party to eat and drink, despite Goro’s warning not to encourage Yakusidé and he fills up the cousin’s child’s sleeves with the food that’s lying around. Then he calls for a song from his uncle who obliges with what reads like a traditional song until he is interrupted a): by noticing the child has made off with his bottle of whiskey, and b): by the arrival of the Bonze. Who denounces Cio-Cio-San and encourages the family to renounce her. They do, and leave her alone with Pinkerton. And the great love-duet begins. Which contains a lovely moment where Butterfly tells Pinkerton that initially she couldn’t consider marriage with an American: “…a barbarian, a stinging insect!” But that was before she saw him.

Act 2 is set inside Butterfly’s house where Suzuki is praying to her traditional gods, pleading that Butterfly might find some peace of mind. Butterfly’s great aria of optimism: Un bel dì – the best-known part of the score, and one of the arias most loved by sopranos! Goro and the Consul arrive then Yamadori. Finally Sharpless is able to read Pinkerton’s letter to her. When asked what she would do if Pinkerton should not return, she sings of returning to her former life as a geisha, or that perhaps she and her son might go begging in the streets where she and her blue-eyed son would be noticed by the Emperor and taken under his protection. Sharpless leaves. A short scene with Goro. Then the cannon-shot from the harbor indicating the arrival of a ship. It is Pinkerton’s. Butterfly gives the child an American flag and renames him Gioia – “Joy” – as she had previously told the Consul she would. As Suzuki prepares Butterfly for the return of her husband, Butterfly wonders what her relatives will now say Yamadori too.

Now follows the “Vigil” scene that had so impressed Puccini when he saw the London production of Belasco’s play. Stage lighting depicts the transition from evening to night, to dawn, to full day. Puccini’s orchestral intermezzo portrayed the passage of time, but also hinted at Butterfly’s train of thought. At morning, Butterfly sings a lullaby to her child and takes him upstairs to bed.

A knock on the door announces the arrival of Pinkerton, his wife and Sharpless. The Consul persuades Suzuki to speak with Mrs. Pinkerton who has remained in the garden. Pinkerton recognizes that the house hasn’t changed. The librettists spliced in a few lines of conversation from the discarded Consulate scene to allow him to express remorse in tears he gives Sharpless money to give to Butterfly, asks him to talk to her about the child, since he doesn’t dare to, and leaves. Suzuki and Kate enter from the garden. Butterfly comes down from the upstairs room slowly the truth dawns on her. Again, lines from the Consulate scene are spliced in: Kate asks Butterfly to allow her to help the child. Butterfly tells her she will give the child to Pinkerton, but that he must come to the house to collect him. Suzuki shows Kate out of the house and goes upstairs. Sharpless offers her the money Pinkerton left, but Butterfly refuses it their conversation is taken, with minor alterations, from the abandoned scene in the American Consulate.
Suzuki rushes in to help the almost-fainting Butterfly. She wonders where the child is and tells Suzuki to go and play with him. Suzuki refuses. Butterfly reminds her that only yesterday she had said that a good sleep would restore her beauty “Leave me alone and your Butterfly will sleep.” She sings a verse of a folk-song: “Life and love entered with him through closed gates he went, and nothing was left to us but death.” Again Suzuki refuses to leave. This time Butterfly commands her to go. Alone she takes the sword and reads the inscription on it. Suzuki pushes the child into the room. Passionately she bids him farewell. She gives him an American flag and a toy to play with, bandages his eyes, and goes behind the screen with the sword. We hear it fall and the dying Butterfly emerges and gropes her way towards her son. Sharpless and Pinkerton burst into the room. Butterfly dies, Sharpless takes the child, while Pinkerton falls to his knees. Fast curtain.
“Whistles and boos after the final curtain,” writes Julian Budden in his biography of the composer. William Ashbrook, in his study of The Operas of Puccini quotes from Giulio Gatti-Casazza’s Memories of Opera: “absolutely glacial silence.” (Gatti-Gasazza was La Scala’s General Manager at the time, and from 1908-1935 ran New York’s Metropolitan Opera.) Whichever is true, the performance was considered a failure Puccini withdrew the score and returned his fee to Ricordi. But he believed it was “the most heartfelt and evocative opera I have ever conceived.” To his nephew he wrote: “I know that I have written a genuine, living opera and that it will certainly rise again.” He was convinced that, with some minor revisions, the opera would prove successful.

Both Illica and Giacoso, at various times, had objected to the treatment – or, perhaps, lack of treatment – of the ostensible hero, Pinkerton. Early in the process Illica complained to Ricordi: “Look…at the role of the tenor! Problems!…Pinkerton is unsympathetic!” Late in the process, Giacoso objected to a proposed cut of some rueful Pinkerton lines when he and Sharpless show up at Butterfly’s house in what is now the final scene. The cut, he wrote, would essentially remove the tenor from the interminabile second act (at the time there was no break after the “Humming Chorus”), inflicting serious damage to the dramatic structure. (Given that La Scala audiences had, by 1904, sat through assorted Wagner operas, Giacoso’s comment seems gratuituous.) Ricordi pointed out that Pinkerton was not a traditional leading-tenor role on the contrary he was “a mean American leech who is afraid of Butterfly and dreads her meeting with his wife and so beats a retreat.”
It was decided that, with “minor revisions”, the opera would be given a second chance in Brescia three months later. These revisions were, in one sense, indeed minor, but major in others. The greatest difference between the two productions was that Giacoso’s interminabile second act was divided into two parts, though Puccini was reluctant to give up the idea of a two-act opera he settled for Act Two, Part One, and Act Two, Part Two. When Puccini acknowledged Illica’s draft libretto in October, 1901, he mentioned an “intermezzo”: an orchestral version of the “Vigil” scene which had so impressed him in London. Soon he’s thinking of “mysterious voices humming.” Which became part of the seamless texture of his orchestral tone-poem of the transition from evening to the next day. Lowering the curtain at the end of so-called “Humming Chorus” meant that the audience had to be summoned back, musically, for the final scene. Major mistake on Puccini’s part, in my opinion.

Since both Illica and Giacoso had complained about Pinkerton’s scant appearances (neither of them very flattering) in the La Scala production, they must have been delighted it was decided he needed some kind of solo on his return, if only to restore his status as a primo tenore. The librettists reworked the opening of Act Two, Part Two, using material from the abandoned Consulate Scene to allow the Tenor another aria. Puccini complied with a romanza, in which Pinkerton bids farewell , essentially, to his youth.

The production at Brescia on May 28, 1904 – three months after its fiasco at La Scala – justified Puccini’s faith in the score. It was a triumph.
What changed? The Pinkerton, Sharpless and conductor were the same as at La Scala the original Butterfly, Rosina Storchio, was on her way to Buenos Aires to sing the role there, conducted by Toscanini. Her replacement was Salomea Krusceniski, born in what is now the Ukraine already well-known for her performances of Verdi’s Aida and Ponchielli’s Gioconda, hers was a voice considerably more “dramatic” than Storchio’s: you can compare the two on youtube! Certainly the role needs a voice which can soar over Puccini’s unleashed orchestra at the great emotional climaxes: the Love Duet in Act One the two arias in Act Two, Part One, as well as the moment when she believes Pinkerton has returned to her and her exalted farewell to her son in the final moments of the opera.

But, for all of Krusceniski’s vocal and dramatic gifts, she alone could not account for the success at Brescia. What revisions did the authors make? As I’ve said, not many.

The opening scene between Pinkerton and Goro remains unchanged. Sharpless arrives and their scene is the same as at La Scala. Butterfly and her friends arrive: no change. To the Consul’s admiration of the beauty of Butterfly, and his congratulations to Pinkerton, Puccini added comments, already heard, from the Friends and Relations. At La Scala, when Butterfly introduced to Pinkerton her cousin and her son, the child sang one word: “Eccellenza!” Brescia gave it to the cousin. Butterfly confesses to Pinkerton she visited the Mission. In Milan she said she couldn’t explain it, other than that she seemed drawn more to praying to one powerful and eternal god, than to the many gods of the Japanese. Those lines were cut for Brescia.

After the wedding ceremony, and alone with his new in-laws, Brescia cut Pinkerton’s request for a song from his drunk uncle Yakusidé, and the song as well! Act One continued as at La Scala.

Not until Pinkerton’s ship has been sighted were there any changes to Act 2. At La Scala Butterfly mocked her relations who advised her to forget Pinkerton she gave the child (who had remained on-stage since he was introduced to Sharpless pages back) an American flag, and re-named him “Joy.” Which led into the “Flower Duet”. In Brescia Suzuki takes the child away during the violent confrontation between Butterfly and Goro, which allows Butterfly to sing to her most faithful friend her gloriously triumphant new lines: “He’s come back and he loves me!” Without the child, the opening lines of the duet needed changing – for the better, since it can now concentrate on gathering the flowers. Butterfly’s lines about her family’s reactions, as Suzuki is arranging her hair, were abbreviated for Brescia.

Butterfly pierces holes in the paper walls of the shoji so that all three of them can watch for Pinkerton’s arrival. Humming is heard – the music of Sharpless’s reading of Pinkerton’s letter. And the curtain, in Brescia, fell.

Suzuki, as well as Trouble, have fallen asleep during the night. She wakes up and goes to Butterfly, standing and gazing towards the harbor, still confident that Pinkerton will come. Suzuki tells her to go to bed and she’ll let her know when he arrives. Butterfly picks up the sleeping child and exits, singing a lullaby. With the arrival of Pinkerton and Sharpless we are back, briefly, in the La Scala original. What seems to have been a duet between the Consul and Suzuki, where he encourages her to talk to Mrs. Pinkerton in the garden, followed by broken phrases from Pinkerton as he surveys the house, is now a trio until Suzuki exits into the garden. Pinkerton says he can’t stay there any longer, and says he’ll wait for him on the path back to the city he gives the Consul money and confesses his remorse. Sharpless upbraids him for his behavior and reminds him of what he told him at his wedding: “She believes in you.” Now, finally, Pinkerton realizes his mistake and admits he will never be able to forget it. Realizing he is dealing with a “mean American leech” (as Ricordi had described him), Sharpless tells him to leave: she should learn the truth alone. Now follows the tenor’s aria. Which is more a farewell to his youth than an acknowledgement of guilt for the actions of his youth he admits he’s been “vile,” but cannot cope with the wretchedness of Butterfly’s life, and, literally, runs away from it.

Back to the original La Scala text for the remainder of the tragedy.

So, I hear you say – if you’ve followed me this far – the mere division into two parts of a questionably long second act, together with the introduction of an aria for the tenor in the opening section of Act Two, Part Two, turned the fiasco at La Scala into a triumph at Brescia? Essentially, yes, but… It’s now generally agreed that a faction in the Milanese audience (perhaps “rented” for that evening) was determined, for whatever reason, to disrupt the performance, and very successfully they did. Puccini’s confidence in a score he deeply believed in was shattered, and he spent the rest of his life tinkering with it to such an extent that we’ll never know what he really wanted.

Ricordi published a piano-vocal score to coincide with the La Scala première mysteriously every copy was bought up. (A “piano-vocal score” is one containing all of the vocal parts, but with the orchestra condensed into something that can be played by the rehearsal pianist.) The piano-vocal score of the Brescia version was published. We know that Puccini made some alterations for the first London production, in 1905, at Covent Garden, but not, as far as I’ve been able to discover, what they were. To coincide with the first American production, in 1906, by Henry Savage’s New English Opera Company in D.C. a piano-vocal score was published with an English translation. Albert Carré, who ran the Opéra Comique in Paris, saw the opera in London and decided to produce the opera in 1907, with his wife in the leading role.
After three years of renting to opera houses all over the world hand-written orchestral scores and parts, Ricordi felt it was time to print an orchestral score that would reflect the composer’s wishes it was decided that this printing would be based on the Paris production. Ricordi was dismayed by the number of changes Carré demanded, but in the summer of 1906 Puccini met with the Frenchman and they quickly agreed to his suggestions.

The best change must be that of Pinkerton’s name. At La Scala and at Brescia, he was Sir Francis Blummy Pinkerton. It’s possible the name was changed either for the London production, or for Henry Savage’s one in D.C., but after Paris it becomes official. It’s also possible that Pinkerton’s racist comments about the Japanese reflected changes already made, but gone, in Paris, are his references to his “mugs,” including the speech ordering such local delicacies as “candied spiders and flies”. Carré seemed determined to reduce Pinkerton’s swaggering American naval officer (with the world as his oyster) of the 1904 La Scala and Brescia productions to a fairly non-descript “leading tenor” role.

Gone is Butterfly’s introduction of her Uncles the drunk Yakusidé, stripped of his folk-song, and other interjections, becomes a cipher. Butterfly’s confession to Pinkerton about her visit to the Mission was revised for Brescia (cutting out her reference to the many Japanese gods as opposed to the one all-powerful American god) in Paris she didn’t sing of kneeling together with him in the same church to pray to the same god.

The wedding ceremony was reduced to its essentials, with the officials and Sharpless leaving as soon as possible. Pinkerton, alone with his new in-laws, is deprived of the chance to get his uncle drunk and hearing him sing his folk-song, for Carré cut from the family’s general toast to the couple to the arrival of Uncle Bonze.

In the duet that ends the act, Carré cut the lines where Butterfly confesses that she was not initially impressed by the idea of marrying an American – a barbarian. We get the idea, but the extra lines clarify her train of thought.

Carré found no fault in Act Two, Part One, until the scene with Sharpless. He has asked her to consider what she might do if Pinkerton never returned. Her response, addressed to her child, tells of returning to her former life as a geisha, singing and dancing. In Italy, while begging in the streets, an official would notice her son’s blue eyes and mother and child would be adopted by the Emperor and all would end happily. In France that triumphant music would become Butterfly’s determination never to return to her former life: she’d rather die.

In the final scene, Carré decided to give most of Kate Pinkerton’s lines to the Consul. He also eliminated Sharpless’s embarrassed attempt to give Butterfly Pinkerton’s money. And shortened the argument (already shortened for Brescia) between Suzuki and her mistress: Butterfly’s folk-song is gone.

If the Paris version of the score, which is usually performed today (and will be at Utah Opera) were all we had, we would easily, and readily, accept it as a masterly depiction of Butterfly’s obsession with her unfaithful lover. But it seems that the Paris version was but a railway station on the opera’s journey. As late as 1921 (three years before he died) Puccini “supervised” a production at the Teatro Carcano in Milan in a vocal score that survives from that production are three hand-written additions, all taken from the original La Scala score, with a note to say that the additions were authorized by the composer.

It is sad to think that, more than a century after the first performance of what has become one of the most popular operas in the repertoire, we don’t know what the composer and his librettists were, ultimately, trying to write. What started out as a study of East (Japan)-West (American) relationships at a time when those relationships were of great interest, devolved into more of an “opera-as-usual” drama. Admittedly, the concentration on the heroine was unusual for 1904,and, even with his added “Romanza”, the tenor role remains minimal. At least the baritone is not the villain!

Who is to blame for this flawed wonder? Certainly not Illica and Giacoso, the librettists.


From the Archives: Madama Butterfly at the Met

Today, Puccini operas are an essential part of the core repertory for opera houses around the world. But at the beginning of the 20th century, Puccini was a contemporary composer churning out pieces for opera houses hungry for new works. Although his Madama Butterfly was poorly received at its 1904 world premiere, he quickly revised the opera, and it began to conquer the operatic world. Three years after the world premiere at La Scala, Puccini was invited to the Metropolitan to oversee its first staging here. Apart from the composer&rsquos presence, the stars of that first Met Madama Butterfly were Geraldine Farrar (pictured above, with Louise Homer as Suzuki) and Enrico Caruso in their first performance together. They would henceforth be the Met&rsquos biggest box office duo. Farrar&rsquos youth and beauty were as much a part of her fame as her voice, and as her fame grew over the next 15 years, she developed a fan-base of mostly young women called &ldquogerryflappers&rdquo who imitated her style. On the other hand, Caruso was idolized for his voice, which, especially through his recordings, made him the most beloved singer in the world. Puccini confided in a letter that he was not particularly pleased by either of the stars. Although he was normally highly vulnerable to beautiful women, he wrote cryptically that Farrar &ldquowas not what she ought to have been.&rdquo And while he admitted Caruso&rsquos voice was &ldquomagnificent,&rdquo he thought him lazy and unwilling to learn. Nonetheless, when the composer&rsquos La Fanciulla del West had its world premiere at the Met in 1910, Caruso was the lead tenor. Farrar, though, was not invited to sing Minnie.

The year following Madama Butterfly&rsquos Met premiere, the opera was revived with the same lead singers, but this time with maestro Arturo Toscanini (pictured above, with Farrar and General Manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza). He, too, took issue with Farrar. At a rehearsal, she told him he should follow her lead, as she was the star. Toscanini&rsquos famous response was: &ldquoThe stars are all in the heavens, mademoiselle. You are but a plain artist, and you must obey my direction.&rdquo An explosion ensued, but Toscanini won out. As time went on, their antagonism turned into something quite different, most likely a torrid love affair that may have been a chief factor in Toscanini&rsquos quitting the Met in 1915.

From 1908 onward, it was a rare Met season in which Madama Butterfly did not appear. The exception, predictably, was during World War II. The 1941 season opened on November 24, and five nights later, Madama Butterfly was given. Then, on December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, killing many Americans and bringing the nation into the war. Madama Butterfly was not offered again at the Met until 1946.

The Met&rsquos leading Butterfly in the 1940s and 50s was Italian soprano Licia Albanese (pictured above), whose 72 appearances as the betrayed geisha were second only to Farrar&rsquos (139) in frequency. Other notable sopranos who have interpreted the part at the Met include Victoria de los Angeles (pictured below), Dorothy Kirsten, Catherine Malfitano, Leontyne Price, Elisabeth Rethberg, Renata Scotto, Antonietta Stella, and Renata Tebaldi.

Given the popularity of Madama Butterfly&mdashto date, there have been 881 Met performances&mdashit is surprising how few new productions there have been. Following the premiere production, a new production in 1922 lasted in the repertory until 1958! That year, the Japanese team of Yoshio Aoyama, director, and Motohiro Nagasaka, designer, created a widely admired production that played for an equally long time, until 1994. Giancarlo Del Monaco&rsquos 1994 production was succeeded by that of Anthony Minghella, which was chosen as the opening night of General Manager Peter Gelb&rsquos first season in 2006.


When did Puccini write Madam Butterfly?

Puccini began work on Madam Mariposa in 1901, initially looking at integrating traditional Japanese melodies into the score. Soon, however, he had a major distraction in his life: the arrival of his first motor car, a splendid De Dion Bouton. And within no time, he managed to slide his new pride and joy off the road into a ditch when, one particularly foggy evening, his chauffeur took a bend too fast and ended up rolling it down an embankment. Puccini was discovered lying under the overturned car, suffering from shock and with a broken shin that left him with a permanent limp. As if to rub salt into his wounds, tests at the time showed he was also suffering from diabetes.

Despite being thrown out of the vehicle, Puccini’s illegitimate son Antonio and long-suffering partner, Elvira, were left relatively unscathed – although his chauffeur suffered a fractured femur. For Elvira this was almost the final straw, as her relationship with Puccini had already been tested severely by his dalliance with a young Turin woman known simply as Corinna. Pretty, vivacious and playfully enchanting, Corinna restored the middle-aged composer’s fading youth in a way that Elvira – who at the time was still married to someone else – couldn’t hope to compete with.

Elvira had suspected Puccini of playing away for some time, but the situation came to a head after she discovered a letter that left the full extent of the relationship in no doubt. He promised to break things off with Corinna, although behind the scenes he kept fanning the flames of love until, following the death of Elvira’s husband, he was compelled by friends and family to do the ‘right thing’ and marry her. But at least he now had a new motorboat to take his mind off things.


American consul Sharpless returns, but is interrupted by Prince Yamadori, Cio-Cio-San's wealthy suitor. He argues she should marry him because she is divorced under Japanese law, now her husband has left, but she refuses. Japanese law, she protests, doesn't apply to her because she's now an American woman. Photo: ENO/Clive Barda


The History Of ‘Madama Butterfly’ In Japan

“It was not the ‘alien’ music that disturbed the Japanese audience” at the Tokyo premiere in 1914 (there had been a Western music school in the city since 1890), “but the threat to traditional hierarchies between men and women. Later, in the 1930s, feminist writers such as Ichiko Kamichika and Akiko Yosano criticised the opera for promoting a ‘victim’ like Butterfly as something of a Japanese ‘paragon’. Somewhat ironically, Butterfly thus proved to be an effective catalyst for the emergence of a new model of womanhood in Japan. Moreover, the Japanese themselves gradually began to find Madama Butterfly exotic and alien.” – Historia hoy

Read the story in History Today Published: 03.03.21

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Madame Butterfly Premieres - HISTORY

The story upon which the libretto of Puccini's Madama Butterfly is based is an amalgam of a narrative by John Luther Long, a Philadelphia lawyer, and the play derived from that narrative by playwright and theatrical producer, David Belasco. Long claimed to have based his story on incidents related to him by his sister, the wife of a missionary stationed in Nagasaki. However, it is difficult to believe that the author would not have known Pierre Loti's popular novel, Madame Chrysanthème, published first in French in 1887 and soon after in English translation. Indeed, much of the plot is contained in the French novel with some notable exceptions.

Madame Chrysanthème is the first-person narrative of a young naval officer, Pierre, who enters into a temporary marriage with a geisha while stationed in Japan. The loosely autobiographical novel (Loti himself had a temporary Japanese wife) details the "little adventure" from his arrival in Nagasaki -- including his engagement of a marriage broker, his relationship with Chrysanthème, and his eventual departure. The central character here is clearly Pierre he is every bit as callous as the Pinkerton of Puccini's first Act. Chrysanthème is practical, unemotional and secondary. They part amicably the final scenes portray the geisha testing the silver dollars she received in fulfillment of the marriage contract and a rather tepid leave-taking:

Come my little mousmee [the term used by the French for their Japanese wives], let us part good friends. Let us even embrace, if you wish. I took you for my own amusement and, although you may not have been a total success, you gave me what you could: your little body, your respect, and your quaint music. All in all, you have been sweet enough in your Nipponese way. And, who knows, perhaps I shall think of you from time to time, in a roundabout way, when I recall this glorious summer, the pretty gardens, and the music of the cicadas.

Long's story, "Madam Butterfly," used the French novel as a structural model but his attention is firmly held by the eponymous geisha. His 18-page story (misleadingly referred to as a "novel" in Puccini's correspondence) first appeared in the January 1898 issue of Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton (the name itself is an ironic accentuation of his role as the American intruder) of the United States Navy marries the young Cho-Cho-San, nicknamed "Madam Butterfly," and forces her to relinquish all ties to her friends and family. Unlike her counterpart in Madame Chrysanthème, the naïve Butterfly believes that her marriage is real, and she allows herself to fall in love. Pinkerton departs with his ship, promising to return. During his absence, Butterfly gives birth to his child. She names the boy Trouble, a name she plans to change to Joy when she reunites with her husband. When Pinkerton's ship finally does return, Butterfly learns that he has married an American woman who wishes to take Butterfly's child back to the United States. Butterfly attempts suicide but survives and is bandaged in the amateurish but moving final scene of the story.

Long's story was wildly popular with a public fascinated by the exotic. Many famed actresses approached him for the dramatic rights, but it was David Belasco, himself at the peak of his fame, who adapted Mariposa for the stage. Contrary to numerous reports, Belasco wrote the stage version without Long's assistance. However, the playwright borrowed liberally from the magazine story and therefore much of the dialogue is indeed Long's. The play had only one act and was produced as part of a double bill with a farce entitled Naughty Anthony, also by Belasco. The entire action of the play takes place two years after Pinkerton's departure. Thus the focus is almost entirely on Butterfly and her maid. Pinkerton makes an ignominious entrance toward the conclusion of the play, inspiring and witnessing Butterfly's (this time successful) suicide. Belasco's tragic ending was coupled with another innovation that impressed Puccini: the 14-minute vigil wherein Butterfly silently awaits Pinkerton's arrival. Belasco vividly depicted the night's shadows through creative lighting effects.

Once again, the exotic setting played a major role in the success of Butterfly. The lack of familiarity with Japanese culture served not only as a point of interest but also as a form of insulation from the play's tragic conclusion. The London Times reported, "in any other than an exotic setting, the dramatic episode would be intolerably painful." It was this London production that Puccini witnessed in the summer of 1900.

The libretto of Madama Butterfly is one of those rare instances in operatic history where the text is actually an improvement over its sources. The dimensions of the opera, the finely etched depictions of its characters, its inexorable progress to its dénouement, and the beautiful verses and dialogue constructed by Giuseppe Giacosa all stand in marked contrast to the writings discussed above. Coupled with Puccini's emotionally charged musical score, Madama Butterfly produces an effect at once intimate and overwhelming, a haunting portrayal of the dangers of misguided love.


Ver el vídeo: Vocal Coach Teaches OPERA - Madame Butterfly Un bel dì vedremo (Mayo 2022).