production of Puccini's poignant tale of love and honor reaches the Israeli Opera. The young Butterfly learns to face pain and the loss of her honor as the man she loves disappears after he leaves her pregnant with his child.
Libretto: Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa after a drama by David Belasco based on a short story by John Luther Long
|Revival Director||Michiko Taguchi|
|Set Designer||Ichiro Takada|
|Costume Designer||Hanae Mori|
|Lighting Designer||Filibeck Marco|
|Cio Cio San||Susanna Branchini|
|The Bonze||Carlo Striulli|
|Imperial Commissioner||Oded Reich|
|Official Registrar||Anatoli Krasik|
The Opera Orchestra - The Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion
A production of the La Scala Opera House, Milan
Sung in Italian
English and Hebrew Surtitles
Translation: Israel Ouval
|PREMIÈRE||210, 280, 345, 420, 470 NIS|
|SUN-FRI||190, 252, 319, 388, 438 NIS|
|SAT||207, 269, 334, 404, 453 NIS|
* 16.7 - The performance is dedicated to Dan David
Goro, aJapanese marriage broker is showing Lieutenant Pinkerton, an American naval officer, around a house overlooking the harbor of Nagasaki. Pinkerton has just purchased this house in a deal which also includes a few servants and a young bride, Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly). Goro, who organized the deal, is waiting with Pinkerton for the arrival of Butterfly for the wedding ceremony. First, though, arrives Sharpless, the American consul. Pinkerton and Sharpless enjoy a glass of whisky as the Lieutenant explains that he has rented the house, as well as his bride, but with the right to cancel the contract when ever he would like. Pinkerton is happy with this agreement, after all the American, he says, is a vagabond, moving from one city to another, dropping his anchor in each harbor en route. Now he is in Nagasaki and Butterfly is the perfect solution for the moment. Sharpless warns Pinkerton. He overheard Butterfly talking when she came to the consulate and he understands she loves Pinkerton dearly. Pinkerton admits that Butterfly infatuates him, but he prefers to drink a toast to the moment he will wed an American bride.
Butterfly arrives with some of her friends and she tells her husband to be and Sharpless that she is just fifteen years old. She adds that she comes from a once quite wealthy family, but is wealthy no longer, so she had become a geisha to try and support the family. In reply to a query about her father, Butterfly answers that he is dead, while Goro hints that Sharpless avoid the topic.
Butterfly shows Pinkerton some of the personal possessions she has brought with her to their new house. There is one object, however, which she is not willing to show him. Goro whispers that it was a present the Mikado has sent Butterfly’s father, a dagger that came with a specific command to commit hara-kiri. And her father did just that. Butterfly tells Pinkerton that on the previous day she went to the mission and converted to Christianity so that she would be able to pray to the same God her husband prays to. The serenity of the wedding is interrupted by the arrival of Butterfly’s uncle, the Bonze, a Buddhist priest who accuses her of renouncing her own religion and denounces her. Her shocked relatives leave the house and Butterfly remains alone with her husband who comforts her in his arms as night falls and the two sing a most tender and passionate love duet.
Three years have passed since the wedding. Pinkerton has left Nagasaki and only Suzuki, the maid, has remained with Butterfly. They live in poverty yet Butterfly adamantly believes that her husband will return, otherwise he would not have provided for the regular payment of the rent of the house. In her major aria Butterfly sings that one fine day her husband will return. Goro brings Sharpless to Butterfly’s house. She welcomes him warmly to her American home and is overjoyed to learn that he has received a letter from Pinkerton. She asks the Consul when do the robins nest in America. Her husband, Butterfly explains, promised to return when the robins make their nests. In Japan they had made their nests three times already, but she wonders whether American robins are different. Sharpless cannot answer while Goro simply laughs, adding that the wealthy prince Yamadori is still willing to marry Butterfly. Yamadori himself arrives but Butterfly refuses yet again. Although according to Japanese law she is considered divorced because her husband deserted her, according to American law, she is still Pinkerton’s wife. Sharpless attempts to read Pinkerton’s letter to Butterfly but she continually interrupts him, as she misinterprets the content of the letter. When Sharpless asks what she would do if Pinkerton were never to return and advises her to accept Yamadori’s offer, Butterfly is deeply insulted. She immediately provides the proof that her husband will indeed return - their three-year-old son, asking the consul to inform Pinkerton that he has a son. In reply to Sharpless’ question, Butterfly explains that the child’s name is Sorrow, but when Pinkerton returns it will be Joy. Butterfly threatens to kill Goro who has been telling people that the child’s father is unknown. The harbor’s cannon is heard, announcing the arrival of a ship. Butterfly and Suzuki rush to look out at the harbor, as they have done for the last three years each time the cannon was heard. They now see a white American ship. It is Pinkerton’s ship. Butterfly now knows for sure that she was right all along. She orders Suzuki to decorate the house and she herself puts on her wedding gown. As night falls, Butterfly, her child and Suzuki watch the path on which Pinkerton is to arrive.
It is dawn and Butterfly is still looking out while Suzuki and the child have fallen asleep. Suzuki wakes up and at her urging Butterfly goes to rest. Pinkerton and Sharpless arrive asking Suzuki not to wake Butterfly. Suzuki notices another woman and when she finds out that it is Kate, Pinkerton’s wife, she cries that Butterfly’s life is over. Suzuki agrees to help convince Butterfly to give the child to Pinkerton and his wife. Pinkerton himself sings an aria of remorse and longing for the days in Nagasaki and leaves. Butterfly wakes up and searches desperately for her husband. But instead she sees Kate and immediately grasps the bitter truth. She agrees to deliver the child to Pinkerton if he himself will come to fetch him. Butterfly sends out Suzuki and the child, takes her father’s dagger and reads the inscription: "He who dies with honor cannot live with honor". As Butterfly is about to kill herself, Suzuki brings the child to his mother. In a poignant aria Butterfly bids farewell to the boy and kills herself as Pinkerton comes back into the house.
Back Stage Secrets at the Opera
Many Opportunities to Widen your Opera Experience
Do you want to know more about the opera you are about to attend? Do you want to find out some back stage secrets? Do you want to meet the artists after the performance? The Israeli Opera enables you to widen your opera experience with a variety of pre performance and post-performance events.
On Saturday morning before the premiere, the creators of the production and several of the soloists gather to discuss the opera, the production, their own career and today’s opera world. This is a unique opportunity to learn as much as possible about the production and meet the director, conductor, designers and some of the participating soloists. Musical excerpts from the opera illustrate the discussion. Towards Opening takes place before some of each season’s productions.
Pre Performance Lecture
One hour before each opera performance there is a 30-minute introductory lecture in the auditorium (in Hebrew). Opera staffers present the opera and the production and enable the audience to get some extra information a short time before attending the performances. Admission is free for ticket holders.
Pre Performance Back Stage Tours
What happens backstage before the audience even thinks of getting dressed for the performance? What do the singers do? The conductor? The Technical teams? How does everyone prepare for the performance? A unique opportunity to taste a little bit of the back stage excitement before the curtain ascends/ A concerted half hour tour in places that are not usually open to the general public. Tours begin 90 minute before the performance begins and last 30 minutes. Tickets are 25NIS and can be booked in advance (tickets for each tour are limited). Tours take place on several evenings in each production. Details can be found at the Israeli opera’s website. Tours from groups both in Hebrew and in English can be booked in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The curtain has just descended on the final scene of the opera. The hour is late. Nut the experience was riveting. This is the time to meet several of the performers. Come to listen and to speak. Ask questions. Meet the artists. A once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the artists who have just excited you on the stage. Opera Talkbacks takes place on the second level of the Opera House foyer and last around 30 minutes. Admission free. Opera Talkback takes place on several evenings in each production. Details can be found at the Israeli opera’s website.
|Back Stage Tours||
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After the show
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After the show