In the most famous aria, ‘Un bel di’, Madama Butterfly – or Cio-Cio San as she is called – sings about ‘one fine day’ – the day when the American officer Pinkerton will return to Nagasaki for her and their son. To him, his marriage to the Japanese geisha is for fun, while she takes it very seriously.
Everyone around Cio-Cio San realises that her dream will never come true. All the same, no one can take from her the intense hope that a miracle might happen. But when Pinkerton returns three years later with his American wife, the encounter is a rude awakening.
West meets East
When working on the opera, composer Puccini studied Japanese music and culture in order to create an authentic reflection of a country he had never visited. Yet Madama Butterfly is a distinctly Italian opera with long lines and beautiful melodies. According to Puccini himself, it was the most emotional opera he had ever written.
It premiered at La Scala in Milan in 1904 and the composer described its reception as a ‘pure lynching’. Today, Madama Butterfly is one of the world’s most widely produced operas.
Successful production with Norwegian star soloist
Our production of Madama Butterfly is one of the most frequent opera performances in Bjørvika. It tells the story of a young Japanese girl through the main character’s adult son, as he looks back on his parents’ story. The action takes place in Japan immediately after World War II at a time when American soldiers occupied the country and mass prostitution was a growing problem.
This season, Norwegian soprano Elisabeth Teige will be singing the title role. Since her debut as Senta in The Flying Dutchman with the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet in 2015, Teige has enjoyed success on various European opera stages as Irena in Wagner’s Rienzi with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Floria Tosca and Cio-Cio San with the Mannheim National Theatre.
- Free introduction one hour before the performance