Japanese tragedy in three acts - 1904

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

Munich Opera Festival
Monday, 13. July 2015
07:00 pm – 09:55 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 55 minutes

Open ticket sales


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Wolf Busse
Set Design
Otto Stich
Costume Design
Silvia Strahammer
Daniele Callegari

Kristine Opolais
Okka von der Damerau
B. F. Pinkerton
Joseph Calleja
Kate Pinkerton
Marzia Marzo
Markus Eiche
Goro Nakodo
Ulrich Reß
Der Fürst Yamadori
Andrea Borghini
Onkel Bonzo
Goran Jurić
Evgenij Kachurovsky
Der Kaiserliche Kommissär
Leonard Bernad
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper

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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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Kristine Opolais wurde in Lettland geboren und studierte Gesang u. a. an der dortigen Musikakademie. Von 2003 bis 2007 war sie Ensemblemitglied an der Lettischen Nationaloper in Riga. 2006 debütierte sie als Tosca an der Staatsoper im Schiller Theater Berlin. Weitere Engagements führten sie etwa als Magda (La rondine) an die Metropolitan Opera in New York, als Pauline (Der Spieler) ans Teatro alla Scala in Mailand, als Mimì (La bohème) an die Wiener Staatsoper und als Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly) an das Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. Ihr Opernrepertoire umfasst zudem Partien wie Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Tatjana (Eugen Onegin) und Amelia (Simon Boccanegra) sowie die Titelpartien in Aida, Rusalka, Jenůfa und Manon Lescaut.  (Stand: 2017)

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