Butterfly Trouble

Madame Butterfly : The Story and the Play

Originally a novella
by John Luther Long (1861-1927), based on a
story his sister told him from her stay in Japan as part of a missionary
couple. Long chose David Belasco to adapt it for the stage. It was very
successful in both the United States and Europe. During its first European
tour, Puccini saw it, and decided to make it into an opera. Long assisted
him with the libretto. It was the first American story to become a European

Madame Butterfly: The Opera

First performance: Milan, La Scala, February 17, 1904.

First performance, revised version: Brescia, Teatro
Grande, May 28, 1904.

First performance, current version: Paris, OpÇra-Comique,
December 28, 1906.

First San Francisco Opera performance: September 26,

arrival of a ship:
it is Pinkerton’s. Cio-Cio-San and her companion
Suzuki decorate the house, anticipating his return.

The next morning, Pinkerton arrives to the house with
his wife Kate, but is suddenly overcome with guilt and leaves. Having heard
about the existence of the child, they tell Suzuki they have come to take
the child with them. Butterfly tells Kate she will give the child to Pinkerton
if he personally comes to get him. After sending the child away, she kills
herself with her father’s ceremonial dagger; Pinkerton arrives to find
her dead.

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