Tonight we joined our PEACH home schooling friends for the dress rehearsal for Pucinni's Madame Butterfly. If you are not familiar with the story it is perhaps the most depressing of tragedies! Here's my recap:
The Opera is set in the 1890’s, at the small house on top of a hill in Nagasaki, Japan. Pinkerton, an officer in the American Navy, has arranged to take a Japanese wife, Cho-cho-san, with the help of an mediator. Sharpless, the American consul, advises Pinkerton that his actions are hasty. But Pinkerton ignores this advice.
Cho-cho-san is a 15 years old. She was born in a samurai family, but the death of her father ruined the family. She became a geisha. She is pleased at her wedding, and she has secretly become a Christian. But, her relatives, who are Buddhist, sever connections with her due to her conversion.
In Act 2 Pinkerton has returned to America, three years have passed. Cho-cho-san believes that he will return. One day, Sharpless visits her with a letter from Pinkerton, but can’t reveal the contents of the letter. Because, she looks happy with her child. After Sharpless leaves, Cho-cho-san confirms that an American battleship to which Pinkerton is assigned, enters port at Nagasaki. She waits for his return.
Cho-cho-san has a sleepless night, but her husband doesn’t come back. While she and her child take a rest in her bedroom in the morning, Pinkerton and Pinkerton’s “real” American wife, Kate, appear in front of the house. Cho-cho-san’s maid, Suzuki, tells them of Cho-cho-san’s innocence. Pinkerton is filled with regret, and promptly leaves. He immediately departs leaving Kate to talk to Cho-cho-san. Cho-cho-san gets up, and when she sees Kate, suddenly everything is clear to her. Kate makes an offer to take in Pinkerton’s child, but Cho-cho-san refuses unless he comes to get his child.
Pinkerton unexpectedly reappears. Cho-cho-san has already killed herself with her father’s dagger!
The music is incredible and the vocal range required by the lead is extraordinary, but did I mention it is perhaps the most depressing tragic opera ever!
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33