Friday, January 27, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Abandon yourself to the emotion in this heartbreaking story of an innocent young geisha who gives up everything to be with an American naval officer. After denouncing her religion to marry him, he leaves her bereft and distraught as she must choose to live in shame, or die with honor. For more than a hundred years, Puccini’s lush melodies and passionate drama continue to haunt and captivate audiences, in one of opera’s most devastating love stories.
Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.
Palm Beach Opera would like to sincerely thank the following members of our Co-Producer Program, and our additional sponsors for helping to make this performance possible:
Madama Butterfly – Ronnie Isenberg, in loving memory of Eugene Isenberg
Madama Butterfly – Chief Conductor Sponsor: Ari Rifkin
Madama Butterfly: Mr. and Mrs. Howard Lester
Madama Butterfly: Northern Trust Bank of Florida N.A.
Madama Butterfly: Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Williams
Madama Butterfly: Drs. Henry and Marsha Laufer
Madama Butterfly: Dr. Elizabeth Bowden
Madama Butterfly: Mr. and Mrs. John Domenico
Madama Butterfly – Season Concertmaster Sponsor: Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gottesman
Madama Butterfly: Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Hardwick
Madama Butterfly: Mrs. Martha Ingram
Madama Butterfly: Mr. Michael McCafferty and Mr. Joseph Horton
Madama Butterfly: Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Parker
Madama Butterfly: Mrs. Sieglinde Wikstrom
Co-Producer Society Season Opening Celebration Hosts: Drs. Henry and Marsha Laufer
Supertitles Sponsor: Palm Beach Opera Guild
David Stern – Conductor
Sam Helfrich – Stage Director
Inna Los* – Cio-Cio San (Friday/Sunday)
Alexandra Loutsion* – Cio-Cio San (Saturday)
Scott Quinn* – Pinkerton (Friday/Sunday)
Adam Diegel – Pinkerton (Saturday)
Zanda Švēde* – Suzuki
Luis Ledesma – Sharpless
Joseph Hu – Goro
Erik Anstine – Bonze
Jessica Fishenfeld^ – Kate Pinkerton
JOSHUA CONYERS^ – Yamadori
*Palm Beach Opera Debut
^Benenson Young Artist
Additional cast information will be listed as it becomes available.
Cast subject to change.
In 1904 Nagasaki, Japan, a U.S. Naval officer named B.F. Pinkerton arranges to marry a young Japanese geisha named Cio-Cio-San, whom he calls by her nickname of “Butterfly.” A naïve teenager, Butterfly is excited to adopt American culture and she secretly converts to Christianity, unaware that Pinkerton is only marrying her for convenience and plans to find a more ‘suitable’ American wife when he returns to the States.
During the simple wedding ceremony, an uncle of Butterfly arrives at the house after learning that she has abandoned her religious heritage. Enraged, he curses and denounces her. As Butterfly’s other relatives also begin to turn on her, Pinkerton orders everyone to leave his house. Alone, he comforts Butterfly as they prepare to spend their first night together as husband and wife.
Pinkerton has left for America, promising to return in the spring. Now three years later, Butterfly continues to wait expectantly for his arrival, despite her maid Suzuki’s efforts to convince her that foreign husbands rarely come back. All the while, the marriage broker Goro has attempted to pair her off again to other suiters, but Butterfly remains loyal to Pinkerton.
Sharpless, the American Consul, visits the house with a letter from Pinkerton. Although Pinkerton’s division will soon be arriving in Nagasaki, he has no intention of returning to his life with Butterfly, and instructs Sharpless to break the news to her. Seeing Butterfly’s optimism when he arrives, Sharpless can’t bring himself to read the letter to her, but suggests that perhaps she should take one of the eager suitors Goro has suggested. Butterfly angrily sends Sharpless away, but not before revealing that she gave birth to Pinkerton’s son a few months after he left. She named the boy “Sorrow,” intending to change it to “Joy” on the day of his father’s return.
Later that evening, from her house high upon a hill, Butterfly sees Pinkerton’s ship arriving in the harbor. She and Suzuki prepare the house for his arrival, adorning it with cherry blossoms. Butterfly stays up all evening waiting for Pinkerton to come home, while Suzuki falls asleep with the child.
As morning comes, Butterfly finally falls asleep. Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive with Kate, Pinkerton’s new American wife. Having just learned of the child from Sharpless, Pinkerton and Kate have decided to raise the boy themselves. However, seeing how Butterfly has lovingly decorated the house for him, and only now realizing how earnestly she waited for him for three years, Pinkerton is overcome with remorse. Admitting that he is a coward, he is unable to face her and abruptly leaves.
Butterfly emerges from the house, but her excitement turns to despair as she sees Kate and learns the truth. Butterfly obediently agrees to give up her child, but only under the condition that Pinkerton come back to see her in person. She then goes inside to pray at the effigies of her ancestral gods, bids her son goodbye and blindfolds him. After placing a small American flag in his hands, she goes behind a screen and stabs herself with her father’s hara-kiri knife. Sensing the worst, Pinkerton rushes in too late as Butterfly dies.
Read more here — > about the history of Madama Butterfly and Puccini’s opening night performance.
Photo: Jeff Roffman for the Atlanta Opera