Tuesday October 8th, 7:30 p.m.


An opera in two acts [1904 version]

by Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924)

Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
after the one-act play Madame Butterfly by David Belasco

Premiered on February 17th 1904 at Teatro alla Scala, Milan


Cio-Cio-San, known as Madam Butterfly

Lieutenant Benjamin F. Pinkerton

Suzuki, Butterfly’s servant

Sharpless, American Consul at Nagasaki

Goro, a marriage broker

Prince Yamadori, a wealthy suitor

Kate Pinkerton, Pinkerton’s American wife

The Bonze, a priest, Butterfly’s uncle

The Imperial Commissioner

The Official Registrar

Cio-Cio-Sans’s mother

Uncle Yakuside

A cousin

An aunt

Maria José Siri, soprano

Bryan Hymel, tenor

Annalisa Stroppa, mezzo-soprano

Carlos Álvarez, baritone

Carlo Bosi, tenor

Costantino Finucci, tenor

Nicole Brandolino, mezzo-soprano

Abramo Rosalen, bass

Gabriele Sagona, bass

Romano Dal Zovo, bass

Marzia Castellini, mezzo-soprano

Leonardo Galeazzi, bass

Roberta Salvati, soprano

Maria Miccoli, soprano


A 2016 production from Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Direction by Avis Hermanis

Set Design by Avis Hermanis and Leila Fteita

Costume Design by Kristine Jurjane

Lighting Design by Gleb Filshtinsky

Choreography by Alla Sigalova

Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala

Conducted by Riccardo Chailly


The action takes place in the early 1900s in Nagasaki, Japan

Act One
Goro, a marriage broker, is showing Pinkerton, a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, over the house which Pinkerton has bought for his bride to be, Cio-Cio San, a geisha known as Madam Butterfly.
Pinkerton is about to marry her in accordance with the Japanese law which holds that the husband’s absence, even for so short a time as a month, constitutes a divorce.
The first wedding guest to arrive is Sharpless, the American Consul, who begs him not to enter into the marriage so lightly, as he has learnt that Butterfly has taken the irrevocable step of renouncing her religion.
But Pinkerton cannot believe that a mere geisha-girl would take the ceremony seriously.
Butterfly, followed by her friends and family, arrive and the marriage contract is signed.
Suddenly the Bonze appears and denounces her for having forsaken her religion.
All turn in horror and curse her as they depart.
Pinkerton consoles his wife and in spite of his cynicism finds himself, for the first time, seriously in love with Butterfly and she in turn makes her love clear to all except Pinkerton himself.

Act Two
Pinkerton has been recalled to America shortly after his marriage and three years later Butterfly is living alone, practically impoverished, with her faithful servant Suzuki.
In spite of Suzuki’s disbelief, Butterfly is sure of Pinkerton’s return and refuses an offer of marriage from Yamadori who has loved her for years. Butterfly tells him that she considers herself bound by the laws of her husband’s country and Yamadori leaves her.
Sharpless, has brought a letter from Pinkerton announcing that he is returning to Nagasaki with an American wife and asking him to break the news to Butterfly.
Butterfly is so excited at the news of her husband’s return that Sharpless has no opportunity to tell her of the blow to come. He tries to persuade her to accept Yamadori’s offer but she shows him Pinkerton’s child and insists that this is security enough for his return.
Sharpless leaves her, deeply moved, and unable to bring himself to deliver his message.
The harbour cannon is heard to announce the arrival of Pinkerton’s ship, the Abraham Lincoln. In a fever of excitement Butterfly and Suzuki decorate the house with flowers in honour of his arrival and, as night falls, settle down to wait for him.
As dawn breaks the sailors' voices are heard from the harbour. Butterfly is still waiting and watching for Pinkerton. Suzuki persuades her to rest awhile.
Sharpless arrives with Pinkerton and Kate, his American wife. Pinkerton, realising the strength of Butterfly’s devotion, is filled with remorse and rushes out, leaving Kate and Sharpless to meet Butterfly. They beg Suzuki to prepare her mistress for the coming blow and tell her that Kate wishes to adopt her husband’s son.
Butterfly learns the truth from Kate and asks that Pinkerton himself fetch the child.