Puccini's Heartbreaking 'Madama Butterfly' Returns to the Met

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Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Metropolitan Opera presents 'Madama Butterfly.' The Metropolitan Opera presents 'Madama Butterfly.' (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Tune in at 1 pm Saturday as Madama Butterfly returns to the Met with conductor Karel Mark Chichon, who made his house debut this season in Anthony Minghella's stunning production of this Puccini favorite.

Soprano Kristine Opolais and tenor Roberto Alagna, who appeared together in the composer's Manon Lescaut earlier this season, reunite as Cio-Cio-San and Pinkerton, in this tragic tale of a naïve young Japanese woman deceived into believing that her marriage to an American naval officer is real. 

Maria Zifchak and Dwayne Croft round out a strong cast, and Mary Jo Heath hosts this live broadcast.

Cast:

Cio-Cio-San: Kristine Opolais
Pinkerton: Roberto Alagna
Suzuki: Maria Zifchak
Sharpless: Dwayne Croft

Conductor: Karel Mark Chichon

Comments [13]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Thanks Mr. Eisenberg

I cannot criticize today because I still get shaken up by this opera.

Apr. 02 2016 05:06 PM
Larry Eisenberg from NYC

Opolais is a great Cio Cio,
It is rare that I've been moved so,
The music, exquisite,
I treasure this visit,
Despite the woe we undergo.

Apr. 02 2016 03:40 PM

beachsiggy it took you multiple viewings of the production to understand it? You made my point, Butterfly is a very powerful opera, it's supposed to be understood right away by 10 year-olds. Which is why this production doesn't work. And a puppet will never be more expressive than a human I'm sorry.

Apr. 02 2016 02:59 PM

CBC How can you be human and not be affected by this opera. When she says "Guardami in face... Puccini just played with our emotions. How can you not be moved by " E torno e m'ama..."

Apr. 02 2016 02:34 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Ted, very nice comments.

Apr. 02 2016 02:07 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

CBC: Anthony Minghella's father was Sicilian.
Minghella directed films such as The English Patient, etc. so many fine films. He also wrote or directed some of the episodes of Morse. His family owned ice-cream business and they would name some of their ice cream, English Patient, Truly Madly Deeply, Cold Mountain, etc.
He was young when he died.
Alagna is also of Sicilian parentage. And of course, the great Bellini.
This opera still gets to me.

Apr. 02 2016 01:56 PM
Ted Cerame from Perris, CA


My friend told me that, “It does not matter how many faddist apocalypse movies they come up with, Madame Butterfly shall remain alive in her youthful Beauty.
“The moral,” he concluded, “is that a Masterpiece is immortal, undying and alive with Beauty, as long as the creative genius of Humankind continues to exist, sweeping all ugly nonsense off the table of Life; wonderful, promising, beautiful Life.”

Apr. 02 2016 01:54 PM
beachsiggy from Jersey Shore

Never thought I'd be rushing to the defense of the puppet, but - IT WORKS, and he is more expressive than a human child could ever be. It took me multiple viewings of the production to understand, but once I did, I fell in love with the little guy, and his handlers, who are tremendous.

Apr. 02 2016 01:26 PM

This production's so wrong on so many levels. The puppet is such a misfire. Some of the most intimate scenes in opera between a mother and a son spoiled by the presence of 3 puppeteers that have nothing to do with the plot or the characters. And they do a lousy job too, Chucky reacts to every word Cio-Cio San says like a little dog, 3 year-olds don't behave like that, ludicrous.

But you can't blame this one on Gelb, it's one of Volpe's bombs. Hopefully Alagna's in good voice. His tops have always been forced but lately he's sounding ghastly. Opolais' not a Butterfly and what a bore my goodness. Well, at least on the radio we won't be freaked out by Chucky.

Apr. 02 2016 12:44 PM
sharps74 from long beach, ny

Deus ex machine has been part of theatrical production since the Greek classical theater first employed it and named it. It was as much a necessary element in a production as was the Choros. In an effort to maintain the presentation of the loss she has suffered and the emptiness that now fills her life, the presence of the puppets...so beautifully performed...but so much a recurring nightmare...only makes Cio-Cio San's in-rushing final steps that much more tragic.

Apr. 02 2016 10:29 AM
Richard G Byrne from Miami, Florida

My return to The Met after nearly twenty years absence in 1994 found me at an evening performance of "Madama Butterfly" in which the wonderful Dwayne Croft also performed Sharpless. Twenty years plus and still going strong, wow! Today's matinee performance has a wonderful cast. Roberto is tops and Kristine rocks!

Apr. 02 2016 10:15 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

CBC: Hope you are well. tante belle cose.

Of course this opera is heartbreaking. An abandoned single mother.
A cad of tenor with beautiful music. He is vil. Ah, son vil.
yeah you are.
Have my tissues ready for the end. it still gets to me.
Puccini, how he knew how to wound the heart.

Apr. 02 2016 07:20 AM

CBC The singing is just fine but a puppet!!?? Give me a break.

Apr. 01 2016 09:17 PM

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