Madama Butterfly – Part 1 Synopsis.

Well, it’s opera time in Asheville and there is a stunning performance waiting for you. This time around that Asheville Lyric Opera presents an ambitious and well-omened version of Giacomo Puccini’s classic Madama Butterfly.  This tragedy in three acts is the story of an American soldier (Lt. B.F. Pinkerton-tenor)  who buys himself a Japanese bride (Madama Butterfly[Cio-Cio San] – soprano) only to discover that all is not for the best in this never quite possible world.

Madama Butterfly is a truly beautiful and intricate opera with several intertwining plot lines, there is Pinkerton’s “girl in every port” attitude versus the staunch monogamy of Butterfly’s expectations, there is the culture clash between the American and the  Japan of 1904, there is the conflict between Butterfly and her family as she renounced her native Buddhism for Christianity in order to marry Pinkerton – a high irony that in that his behavior is far from Christian!, and there is the interpersonal conflict between Butterfly and her friend/bridesmaid Suzuki (mezzo-soprano) who knows that Pinkerton is not coming back to Butterfly.

And then we discover that Butterfly and Pinkerton have a son, one that Pinkerton did not know about. After that things really get messy.

I will not reveal the ending here as my first viewing of Madam Butterfly in St. Louis was shall we say a virginal inauguration to the show. I did not know how it would end and so I followed the story in open mouthed anticipation and felt the full impact of climax and closure. If you want to know how it ends Wiki or Google it…

and if you already know, well, the story is an eternal, perennial favorite in the operatic genre and I’m sure you’ll want to come see it again anyway.

Especially as the Asheville Lyric production features some truly wonderful singers and interesting innovations in dress and staging. All in all, a triumph for a small production opera company.

I’ll see you there!

Diana Wortham Theater, Asheville, NC     Friday 7 and Saturday 8  at 8pm.

 

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