In New York, opera lovers can rejoice. The Metropolitan Opera’s Madama Butterfly is in production. It’s the opera in three acts that Giacomo Puccini wrote and dedicated to the Queen of Italy, Elena of Montenegro. Interpreting the role of the tragic geisha will be the soprano Eleonora Buratto.
Until May 7th, those interested may attend the six opera performances by purchasing a ticket starting at 30 dollars, presenting their proof of complete vaccination against Covid-19 and wearing a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking in the designated areas.
Since its conception in 1901, the composition of Madama Butterfly was plagued by numerous interruptions: the orchestration began in November 1902 and was completed in September of the following year; therefore it wasn’t until December 1903 that the opera was considered completed in its entirety.
For the production of this drama, Puccini copiously researched various Eastern elements that he had decided to include. A notable Japanese actress, Sada Yacco, and the wife of the Japanese ambassador whom he encountered in Italy were of particular help, as he requested that they describe their customs and traditions.
In this New York production the tenor Brian Jagde plays the role of the insensitive American Navy officer who betrays Madama Butterfly, while the mezzosoprano Elizabeth DeShong performs the role of Suzuki, her devoted maid, and the baritone David Bizic is seen in the role of the US consul Sharpless.
A fun fact: the national anthem of the United States of America, which is heard several times in the opera, in Puccini’s time was in reality the anthem of the United States Navy. It wasn’t until 1931, through a resolution passed by Congress, that it became the national anthem of the United States of America.
Translation by Emmelina De Feo