Flutterby Butterfly

Geraldine Farrar as Cio-cio San in the
Metropolitan Opera's 1907 production. Caruso
played the lead male role of Pinkerton
La Scala
Over a couple decades of composing, Puccini wrote a series of operas that are still the core of the repertoire. Madame Butterfly (Cio-Cio San) opened at La Scala 110 years ago tonight.  In a world with very few creative types who we will remember a century from now, we remember this guy and this work.  Opera isn't for everyone, obviously but in the time of this composition, it was what you did, what you saw, where you took your date for want of a better description.  Operas were movies, talkies if you will, plays set to music and music set to theater.

"Set in Nagasaki, Japan, Madame Butterfly told the story of an American sailor, B.F. Pinkerton, who marries and abandons a young Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, or Madame Butterfly. In addition to the rich, colorful orchestration and powerful arias that Puccini was known for, the opera reflected his common theme of living and dying for love. This theme often played out in the lives of his heroines--women like Cio-Cio-San, who live for the sake of their lovers and are eventually destroyed by the pain
inflicted by that love. Perhaps because of the opera's foreign setting or perhaps because it was too similar to Puccini's earlier works, the audience at the premiere reacted badly to Madame Butterfly, hissing and yelling at the stage. Puccini withdrew it after one performance. He worked quickly to revise the work, splitting the 90-minute-long second act into two parts and changing other minor aspects. Four months later, the revamped Madame Butterfly went onstage at the Teatro Grande in Brescia. This time, the public greeted the opera with tumultuous applause and repeated encores, and Puccini was called before the curtain 10 times. Madame Butterfly went on to huge international success, moving to New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1907".

Anyway, enough. Happy Birthday Ci-cio San.