Japanese tragedy in three acts

Composer Giacomo Puccini · Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
In Italian with English and German surtitles

Tuesday, 27. May 2008
07:30 pm – 10:25 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 55 minutes · 1 Interval between 1. Teil and 2. Teil (est. 08:30 pm - 09:00 pm )

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Musikalische Leitung
Vjekoslav Šutej
Wolf Busse
Otto Stich
Silvia Strahammer
Stellario Fagone

Patricia Racette
Heike Grötzinger
B. F. Pinkerton
Kamen Chanev
Kate Pinkerton
Laura Rey
Christian Rieger
Goro Nakodo
Ulrich Reß
Der Fürst Yamadori
Francesco Petrozzi
Onkel Bonzo
Steven Humes
Rüdiger Trebes
Der Kaiserliche Kommissär
Adrian Sâmpetrean
Der Standesbeamte
Die Mutter der Cio-Cio-San
Die Base
Die Tante
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper

Besetzung für alle Termine

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The U.S. Forces show their presence world-wide: American Lieutenant Pinkerton has an affair in Nagasaki with Cio-Cio San, "Madame Butterfly". He sails away. She then has his child. Three years later he returns to Japan – accompanied by his American wife and wants to take the child with him. Butterfly commits suicide.


Act I

The U.S. naval officer Pinkerton, along with a marriage broker named Goro, comes to inspect a house near Nagasaki he has bought to live with the geisha Butterfly, whom he plans to marry according to Japanese law. This law however allows him to abandon his wife whenever he feels like it. He casually brushes off the warnings of the American Consul Sharpless, who has told him that Butterfly takes love and marriage very seriously. Before Butterfly appears, he drinks a toast "to a future marriage with a genuine American woman". Butterfly now appears with her friends, attended by members of her family. Hardly has the marriage ceremony ended when Butterfly's uncle arrives and curses the girl for having renounced the faith of her ancestors. Cast out by all the others, all Butterfly has left is her great love.

Act II

Three years have passed. After a brief period of happiness, Pinkerton has left Butterfly. She lives with her servant Suzuki, confidently waiting for her husband's return, although she has not received a single sign of life from him. The consul comes to visit Butterfly. He explains to her that Pinkerton will never return. He cannot bring himself to tell Butterfly that he has married an American woman. Then she triumphantly shows him Pinkerton's child. Sharpless leaves the house after advising her to marry the rich Yamadori who has been courting her. She however feels bound to Pinkerton and refuses. Then the cannon in the harbor goes off. Butterfly recognizes Pinkerton's vessel. Full of hope, she decorates the room and waits in her bridal gown for her beloved.


Morning dawns. Butterfly has been waiting in vain all night. Finally she goes into the next room with the child in her arms to get a little rest. Pinkerton and Sharpless arrive. Suzuki finds out the whole story. Lamenting, she promises to prepare Butterfly for the worst. Full of remorse, Pinkerton goes running off. Awakened by the sound of the voices, Butterfly returns to the room: full of hope she looks for Pinkerton. Suddenly a strange woman appears. Butterfly discovers the truth from Sharpless. As if this weren't enough - they want her to turn over her child. All that remains for Butterfly is death.

English translation by Donald Arthur

© Bavarian State Opera

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Premiere of Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" on June 5, 1973 in the Nationaltheater 

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wurde in Rijeka/ Kroatien geboren und studierte Dirigieren an der Musikakademie in Zagreb und Rom bei Franco Ferrara. Von 1979 an war er zehn Jahre lang Leiter des Kroatischen Nationaltheaters in Split, von 1986 bis 1990 Künstlerischer Direktor des Hollybush Festival in New Jersey sowie anschließend Musikdirektor des Teatro La Fenice in Venedig, wo er u.a.  Produktionen von Eugen Onegin  und Rigoletto leitete. 1990 gründete er als Mitglied der Real Academia de bellas artes in Spanien das Real orquesta simfonica de Seville, das er bis 1996 leitete. Von 1992 bis 1997 war er Musikalischer Leiter der Houston Grand Opera und dirigierte dort über 130 Vorstellungen in 19 verschiedenen Produktionen. Gastdirigate führten ihn an viele internationale Opernhäuser, u.a. nach Parma, Verona, Madrid, San Francisco, Washington, Seattle, Berlin und Wien. Derzeit ist er Musikdirektor des Philharmonischen Orchesters Zagreb, hat dort eine Professur für Dirigieren an der Musikakademie inne und ist Künstlerischer Direktor des Sommerfestivals in Dubrovnik. Dirigat an der Bayerischen Staatsoper: Manon Lescaut.

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