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Opera & Musical Theater

Opera Cheat Sheet: Madama Butterfly

A quick overview of Puccini’s Japanese tragedy, Saturday’s noon Met Opera broadcast.



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Cio-Cio San and Pinkerton in a scene from Puccini's Madama Butterfly
Cio-Cio San and Pinkerton in a scene from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly

In this OCS, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra provide their own inimitable introduction to Giacomo Puccini's 1904 drama based on the play "Madame Butterfly" by David Belasco.

Set in Nagasaki, Japan, in the early years of the twentieth century, it's the story of the young, innocent Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, and her fateful love for the "faithless" American naval lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton.

Tune in to Houston Public Media's Classical 91.7 Saturday, April 2nd at noon for the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Madama Butterfly featuring Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais in the title role and French tenor Roberto Alagna as Pinkerton.

[The musical excerpts are taken from a 1962 recording featuring Erich Leinsdorf conducting the RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra and Chorus with Leontyne Price singing Cio-Cio San and Richard Tucker as Pinkerton (RCA Victor 09026-68884-2)]