Madama Butterfly: Synopsis, Character Map

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Madama Butterfly: Summary

Pinkerton, an American naval officer, buys a marriage to Butterfly, a Japanese geisha. For Pinkerton, it was a marriage for fun, but for Butterfly it was a serious marriage.

Pinkerton

Lovely girl with lovely eyes, now you are mine. You dressed like a lily. You are beautiful.

Three years have passed since Pinkerton left Japan. Butterfly’s life is in trouble.

Madama Butterfly

Pinkerton will come back. On his last day, he said. “I’ll be back when the robin returns with their chicks. I’ll bring you roses.“

Pinkerton came to Japan after getting officially married in America. He had never intended to see her, but Butterfly had given birth to his child.

Madama Butterfly

Sweet boy. You are the child of the lily and the rose. I choose to die for you.

Butterfly learns of the cruel reality and chooses to die.

Madama Butterfly: Character Map

Madama Butterfly: Character Map
Madama Butterfly: Character Map

Madama Butterfly: Roles

Cio-Cio-san(Madama Butterfly)Geishasoprano
B.F. PinkertonLieutenant in the United States Navytenor
SharplessUnited States consul at Nagasakibaritone
SuzukiButterfly’s maidmezzo-soprano
Goroa matchmakertenor
The BonzeButterfly’s uncle, Buddhist monkbass
Kate PinkertonPinkerton’s wifemezzo-soprano
Prince YamadoriThe rich mantenor
  • Native title: Madama Butterfly
  • Composers: Giacomo Puccini
  • Librettist: Luigi Illica, Giuseppe Giacosa
  • Based on: Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long
  • Language: Italian
  • Premiere: February 17, 1904, La Scala, Milan
  • Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (Act 1: 50 minutes, Act 2: 50 minutes, Act 3: 40 minutes)
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