Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, with a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. The work, dedicated to the Queen of Italy, Elena of Montenegro, is defined as a "Japanese tragedy", not only because the plot takes place in Japan, but also because Puccini unexpectedly brings together the contrasting souls of the East and the West. In this regard, musicologist Fabrizio Della Seta wrote: "Puccini transforms the passionate tension of the first part, almost Tristanesque, into a contemplative atmosphere, combining oriental melodies with daring Western harmony. The result is a highly modern sound, akin to what Debussy and Ravel were creating at the same time."
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The story of Madama Butterfly narrates the life of Cio-Cio-San, a 15-year-old geisha who, following her father's suicide, marries a young American officer, Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, during his visit to Japan. Although their marriage seems promising, the challenge of communication between two worlds that fail to understand each other—the West and the East, Man and Woman—lie beneath the surface of their characters. Indeed, after marrying Cio-Cio-San, Pinkerton sails back to the United States, leaving the young woman behind to face a melancholic destiny. Cio-Cio-San clings to the hope of a better life, eagerly awaiting her husband's return, only to be devastated by the tragedy of Madama Butterfly: Pinkerton has remarried. Like her father before her, Madama Butterfly is compelled to perform jigai—a form of ritual suicide—since "He who cannot live with honor must die with honor," as engraved on her dagger. Madama Butterfly remains a drama that continues to provoke contemplation, casting its radiant light on the shadows of the present. On medici.tv, you can discover the most exquisite operas by Puccini, whenever and wherever you desire!