Drama, beauty and intrigue make up Opera San Jose’s latest show–the infamous Madama Butterfly. Puccini’s masterpiece tells the captivating story of innocent love destroyed by selfishness and deceit. One of the most performed operas worldwide, the three-act performance is a must-see for opera novices and longtime aficionados.
The story takes place in Nagasaki, Japan in 1904. A U.S. Naval Officer, Pinkerton, arrives, in search of a place to stay during his time away from home. Along with his temporary residence comes a young bride–”Butterfly.” While Butterfly carries a true and pure love for Officer Pinkerton, he does not know if what he feels is love, or simply lust. Leaving her family and disowning her faith for his, Butterfly sacrifices all for a love she believes is sure to last. Time will only tell if Pinkerton will fulfill the vows he made to the 15 year -old Madame Butterfly, or whether he will break her wings.
Sung in Italian, Madama Butterfly is divided into 3 acts. One of my favorite musical numbers was Vogliatemi bene, which translates to “Love me, please.” At the end of the duet, Butterfly asks Pinkerton if it is true that, in foreign places, a man catches a butterfly and pin its wings to a table. He replies that they do, but so that she will not fly away; he has caught Butterfly and now she is his.
Beyond the spectacular musical numbers, the performers gave every ounce of themselves to the audience in their emotional presence on the stage. The story was truly brought to life by the Opera San Jose cast. Not one detail went unnoticed, from the starry sky, to the gorgeous kimonos, to the petals all across the ground. Opera San Jose’s Madama Butterfly was flawlessly executed– the spectacular cast, stunning set design, theatrical components, and exceptional orchestra fused together to create the perfect opera experience.
Madama Butterfly runs from now until March 2nd at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San Jose. Tickets are on sale at the Opera San Jose box office, by phone at (408) 437-4450, or online at www.operasj.org.