Puccini's 'Madame Butterfly' from San Francisco Opera

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly' in a production by Jun Kaneko Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly' in a production by Jun Kaneko (© Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

This Saturday at 1 pm, join us for the San Francisco Opera's 2014 performance of Madama Butterfly, starring soprano Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio-San and American tenor Brian Jagde as Pinkerton.

One of Puccini's most beloved operas follows the ill-fated love between an American Lieutenant and a Japanese teenager. Shortly after their marriage, the lieutenant, Pinkerton, leaves his new wife Cio-Cio-San and doesn't return for three years. When he does, Cio-Cio-San has a surprise: a baby boy. Unfortunately for Cio-Cio-San, Pinkerton also has some unexpected news.


Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly): Patricia Racette
Lt. B.F. Pinkerton: Brian Jagde
Suzuki: Elizabeth DeShong
Sharpless: Brian Mulligan
Goro: Julius Ahn
Kate Pinkerton: Jacqueline Piccolino
Prince Yamadori: Efrain Solis
The Bonze: Morris Robinson
Conductor: Nicola Luisotti

San Francisco Opera Chorus, Ian Robertson, chorus master

Opera Strip:

As you listen to Madama Buttefly, check out a graphic comic strip of the opera, provided courtesy of Sinfini Music. See the rest at the Sinfini Music website.

'Madama Butteffly' in comic strip fashion. Click above for full strip.

Comments [4]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Nick: Puccini used a Japanese folk song in the score.
Good catch on your part with the War March.
This opera was based on Miss Saigon, right?
When I tell some people that Miss Saigon is actually Madama Butterfly, they seen surprised.

Sep. 26 2015 03:11 PM
Nick from Tampa

When hearing "Madama Bufferfly" as youth learning about opera, I keep noticing a familiar theme. It was the same theme Sullivan used in "The Mikado"! In my youthful ignorance, I believed Puccini copied Sullivan since "The Mikado" was compose over a two decades prior! Now I know that both composers used the same ancient Japanese war march. Could perhaps Puccini, a frequent visitor to London, might have attended a performance at the Savoy Theater, then taking the 1900 David Belasco one act play and composing an opera with a Japanese setting, remembering that theme? Any comments?

Sep. 26 2015 02:56 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Ms. Racette does not have the greatest voice but she has something we Neapolitans call "l'arte". She has art. "Te l'arte" my father would say in dialect. I have seen sopranos who had great voices but they did not have "arte". I was going to remark with something a little on the salty side but everyone is SOOOOO sensitive. The last time I heard Ms Racette sing "Tu piccolo Ideo(?)" I almost cried. I ALMOST cried.
I am of Italian descent but do not cry too easily. John Boehner cries all the time. My wish before I croak would be to run into him and remark "Why are you always crying? Are you Italian?"

Sep. 26 2015 02:12 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

It is so easy to relegate a masterpiece of music, literature or art to a simple statement which without full detail, as Dangerfield would say "I get no respect." MADAMA BUTTERFLY is a masterpiece which goes beyond individuals to the mores of a country where women may be bought or sold and the brokers are deceitful and mercenary. Thailand today has such a corrupt government as to openly attract wealthy men eager for seducing young girls. The United Nations obscenely turns the other eye.
It may appear to be so self-serving for a competitive Wagnerian heldentenor to criticize the MET OPERA for now assigning the heroic tenor role of OTELLO to an underpowered, light-voiced singer but as an opera composer myself {"Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"), I consider it fraudulent to misrepresent the composer's choice of voice for a protagonist... FRANCESCO TAMAGNO, the super=voiced dramatic tenor was VERDI's choice for the Otello title role. Nowadays the MET OPERA assigns that role to a super weight, obese singer who nuances to extremes or to a good singer with insufficient oomph in his vocal capacities. Please check out my credentials at Recorded Selections on my website www.WagnerOpera.com CONGRATULATIONS TO THE MET OPERA for their showing on Sunday September 21st of their liove simulcast of OTELLO at TIMES SQUARE where a wider audience could be expected than at the LINCOLN CENTER setting, but presenting the performance at BOTH TIMES SQUARE AND LINCOLN CENTER would be better. There would be some "squares" at the Lincoln Center site but thr elite need also representation. I am to reprise my third All Wagner solo concert with collaborating pianist Rolf Barnes of 14 of the 50 selections I sang at two 3 hour long solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, for the New Life Expo at the N.Y.C. Pennsylvania Hotel on Saturday October 17th at 6 PM. All the selections on the program may be heard in unretouched live performance of mine singing them at Carnegie Hall by downloading them, free, at his Recorded Selections venue on my website www.WagnerOpera.com. I have sung four three hour long solo concerts at the main hall of Carnegie Hall. I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ. My operas will be on my websites in JULY 2017.

Sep. 26 2015 01:29 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.