Butterfly Resources, part III: Sources and critical responses

Gustave_Léonard_de_Jonghe_-_The_Japanese_Fan

The Japanese Fan (Gustave de Jonghe, 1880s).

Read “Madama Butterfly: A Study in Ambiguity” by Jordan Serchuk.

Read “The Heartless GIs Who Inspired Madame Butterfly by Rupert Christiansen.

Read “Washington National Opera’s Madama Butterfly, Reviewed,” by Mike Paarlberg.

Read “Past vs. Present: Puccini’s Madame Butterfly vs. Weezer’s Pinkerton” by Maxime Scraire.

Weezer’s “Across the Sea”:

Read “What About Yellowface?” on this blog.

Novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen says it’s time to “Close the Curtain on Miss Saigon.”

Take a look at this Pinterest page of mostly Western women in Japanese kimono.

A database of all the Japanese folk songs Puccini incorporated into the score of Madama Butterfly.

Did Puccini borrow Cio-Cio-San’s main theme from a music box, now in a museum in New Jersey?

Read more of the fascinating story here:

Self-portrait by the Yōga (Western style) painter Ryūsei Kishida, 1913.

The opposite of orientalism? In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japanese painters experimented with western techniques. For more, go here.

Butterfly Resources, part II

The opera in a nutshell.

Maestro Antonio Pappano and the cast of the Royal Opera production discuss the rehearsal process.

English National Opera presented Butterfly two years ago with a puppet as Trouble, Butterfly’s son.

Do you think it works?

A short animated film to Butterfly’s Act II aria “Un bel dì vedremo.”

Glyndebourne Opera updated the story to 1950s post-World War II Japan:

Punk rock producer Malcom McLaren’s take:

The Kazakh countertenor Erik Kurmangaliev singing Butterfly’s Act III aria in a Russian-language production of American playwright David Henry Hwang’s play M. Butterfly (which actually does not follow the plot of the opera at all, but concerns a relationship between a French diplomat and a Chinese opera singer

Butterfly Resources, part I

The Balcony, Yokohama (Edward Atkinson Hornel, 1894).
metbutterfly3sm
“Dolore” in the first American production at the
Metropolitan Opera

Read the complete libretto in English translation here.

This is one of my favorite versions of the opera, produced for film, not the stage, in a 1975. No subtitles, but beautifully and sensitively performed.

Claude_Monet-Madame_Monet_en_costume_japonais Wiki

Orientalism: “La Japonaise (Mme. Monet in Kimono” (Claude Monet, 1875).

babylift

Photo from Operation Babylift, Saigon, 1975: a U.S. Naval officer about to take a Vietnamese orphan, one of thousands, onboard a plane to be adopted in America. For more on Operation Babylift, go here:

https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/museum/exhibits/babylift/#

A French film version of the complete opera made in 1996: this is the one we will be analyzing in class.

In 2018, Pacific Opera Project presented an ambitious production of Butterfly in Japanese and English, NOT Italian, because Cio-Cio-San and Pinkerton would have communicated in their respective languages. The English sections have Japanese subtitles, and the Japanese sections have English subtitles.

The opposite of orientalism? More than 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned without charge during World War II:

For more, go here to the fascinating 50 Objects/Stories site: