A Japanese tragedy in three acts
Giacomo Puccini
Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Staged in Italian with Polish surtitles
2 hours 45 minutes, including an intermission


Musical director:
Maciej Figas
Marianne Berglof
Staging and set designer:
Andrey von Schlippe
Costume designer:
Christine Haller
Lighting director:
Bogumił Palewicz
Choir master:
Henryk Wierzchoń
Rosław Szaybo


The Imperial Commissioner:
Prince Yamadori:
Cio-Cio-San's child:
Oliwia Rzeźnikowska, Weronika Ziomek


Madama Butterfly is the first Puccini's opera set in an exotic environment. While composing this beautiful opera, the composer studied and researched music (type of melody, instrumentation) and traditions of Japan. Our heroine, Madama Butterfly, is most profoundly depicted in psychological terms: as a joyful, hopeful fiancée, a trusting and faithful wife, a desperate, abandoned woman, calm and sure of her decision before her death - in every state, she fascinates the listener and dominates the stage. 

The authors of the libretto referred to several literary sources: Pierre Loti's French novel Madame Chrysantheme, John Luther Long's short story Madame Butterfly and David Belasco's drama based on it under the same title. Although the main character of the opera Cio-Cio San owes her nickname to the ancestral crest carved in the shape of a butterfly, one can find a deeper symbolism in it. 

The geisha drama, taking place in an exotic landscape, has been subtly realized with the extraction of all the beauty of music from the score, maintaining psychological credibility, and stage harmony, using modern lighting techniques. Puccini's opera, classified as a veristic masterpiece, is staged with unbated success all over the world.



In 1904, a U.S. naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for himself and his soon-to-be wife, "Butterfly". Her real name is Cio-Cio-San. She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl, whom he is marrying for convenience, and he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together. 


Three years have passed. Abandoned by everyone, Butterfly lives in poverty with her little son and her faithful maid Suzuki. Full of trust and hope in her husband's return, she looks forward to the appearance of the longed-for ship. Unexpectedly, Consul Sharpless arrives with Pinkerton's letter to announce the sad news of his unfaithfulness. However, he does not find the strength to tell the whole truth. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the go-between Goro, who announces the visit of the rich prince Yamadori, who has long been courting a young Japanese woman. Butterfly, however, steadfastly rejects his competition. A cannon shot announces the arrival of the long-awaited American ship. Happy Butterfly and Suzuki decorate the whole house with flowers and expect a longed-for guest.


The night has passed. Tired of waiting in vain, Butterfly goes to rest. After a while, Pinkerton arrives with Sharpless and an unknown young lady. Suzuki learns that it is Pinkerton's wife who has come with her husband to take Butterfly's child. Cio-Cio-San appears. When she sees the young American woman, she understands her tragedy. She dismisses everyone and orders Suzuki to cover the windows and go with the child to the garden. When she is left alone, she takes out an old ancestral dagger, with which she takes her own life.

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