by Giacomo Puccini
ARENA DI VERONA
FESTIVAL LIRICO 2017
MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Opera in 3 acts - Music by Giacomo Puccini - Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa)
Madama Butterfly is a three act Opera, composed by Giacomo Puccini and with Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica libretto. It is defined as "Tragedia giapponese" in the score, because of the setting in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The Opera is mainly based on "Madame Butterfly" drama by the american David Belasco, which was inspired by the homonymous story of John Luther Long. Puccini attended Beslasco's theatrical representation at Duke of York's Theater of London in 1900 and, just one year later, the drawing up of libretto was entrusted to Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica.
Both the composer that the two writers become so interested in the story, that decided to make the Opera as compatible as possible to Japan's customs and traditions.
For this reason a great source of inspiration was the short story "Madame Chrysantème" by Pierre Loti and Japanese actess Sada Yacco and italian Japanese consul's wife advice was indispensable for Puccini as well.
The orchstration work was finished in 1903, date that officially marks the completion of Madama Butterfly.
Puccini was so convinced about the validity and the suggestiveness of the Opera, that decided to held the Prima at Teatro Scala in Milan in 1904. The premises were those of a great success, also thanks to singers Rosina Storichio And John Zenatello's talents, to the ability in direction of conducer Cleofonte Campagnini and to costumes designed by Giuseppe Palanti.
But it was not so; the Opera was a real flop and the audience did not remain until the end. Still today, however, it is difficult to find the reasons for this failure, because of the perfect basis and the undoubted musical refinement. Many scholars and contemporaries think that an hostility climate had been built around the author and the same hypothesis would have been confirmed by Puccini's incredulous reaction aswell.
After 1904's disaster, he came to decision to append some modifications into the structure and three months after Madama Butterfl was represented to a more contained public at Teatro Grande in Brescia.
That day began the fortune of the OPera, that was recognised in its great value and that had been represented in all world's most famous stages.