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Giacomo Puccini

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Royal Opera House

March 20

Butterfly’s sanctuary: The long history of Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House

Royal Opera HouseSena Jurinac as Cio-Cio-San in the 1959 revival of Madama Butterfly (1950) © ROH Collections Madama Butterfly was first performed at Covent Garden on 10 July 1905, just 17 months after its world premiere at La Scala, Milan . With a cast including Emmy Destinn , Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti its success was ensured and it became hugely popular, performed 155 times before World War II. Excluding this Season's performances, it has been seen 404 times on the Royal Opera House stage to date, and continues to be an audience favourite. There have been three original productions at the Royal Opera House since the establishment of the theatre’s resident opera Company in 1946. The first was produced in 1950 by former ballet dancer Robert Helpmann for the Covent Garden Opera Company. It lasted through the Company’s renaming as The Royal Opera, until Nuria Espert directed a new production in 1988. The third was created in 2003 by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier , and is still performed to this day. Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton and Carlo Bosi as Goro in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Gabriele Viviani as Sharpless, Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San and Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San with members of The Royal Opera chorus Yuriy Yurchuk as Yamadori and Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton and Kristin Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San, Carlo Bosi as Goro and Yuriy Yurchuk as Yamadori in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Carlo Bosi as Goro and Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Enkelejda Shkosa as Suzuki and Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Gabriele Viviani as Sharpless and Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Enkelejda Shkosa as Suzuki and Anush Hovhanissyan as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Enkelejda Shkosa as Suzuki and Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Gabriele Viviani as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San and Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San and Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton and Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Enkelejda Shkosa as Suzuki and Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Gabriele Viviani as Sharpless and Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Enkelejda Shkosa as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Brian Jagde as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper Kristine Opolais as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH 2015. Photo by Bill Cooper ROH Collections holds a wide variety of archive material in different formats covering all three productions, as well as items from the opera’s UK premiere at the Royal Opera House in 1905. At this time, the Royal Opera House had an in-house designer, Attilio Comelli, whose collection of approximately 1,500 watercolour costume designs includes several for the Butterfly premiere. Sophie Fedorovitch ’s 1950 designs for the Helpmann production, and Ezio Frigerio ’s from 1988, are also held by ROH Collections, while the Costume Collection includes many of the original costumes and accessories designed by Fedorovitch (1950) and Franca Squarciapino (1988), out of its more than 6,000 items. Each design captures the differing styles of the production and of the individual designer. Costume design for the character of Cio-Cio-San from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Cio-Cio-San from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Cio-Cio-San from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for chorus members from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for chorus members from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for chorus members from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Cio-Cio-San from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Cio-Cio-San from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for chorus members from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Goro from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Kate Pinkerton from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Benjamin Pinkerton from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Prince Yamadori from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the character of Suzuki from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design for the characters of Cio-Cio-San and Suzuki from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © Squarciapino Costume design for the character of Pinkerton from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © Squarciapino Costume design for the character of Pinkerton from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © Fenouillat Costume design by Attilio Comelli for a soldier in Madama Butterfly (1905) © ROH Collections Costume design by Attilio Comelli for an unnamed female character in Madama Butterfly (1905) © ROH Collections Costume design by Attilio Comelli for Yakuside in Act I of Madama Butterfly (1905) © ROH Collections Playbills and posters have been used to advertise what’s on at Covent Garden since the first theatre opened in 1732, and along with the collection of programmes provide a hugely important record as to what has been performed on the main stage over nearly 300 years. ROH Collections includes a programme for the first performance of Madama Butterfly in 1905, and posters from performances in 1914 and 1959, among other items. Since 1948 stage managers’ reports have been produced after every performance, listing, among other things, any issues that have occurred. From these we know that the first night of the 1950 production on 17 January went without a hitch; but the second performance on 25 January suffered from technical difficulties. We use the programmes and the stage and house managers’ reports to complete entries in our Performance Database , a searchable resource that is currently being updated and which will eventually list every performance on the main stage since 1946. Poster for the Grand Opera Syndicate performance of Madama Butterfly on 2 June 1914 © ROH Collections Programme for the first performance of Madama Butterfly by the Grand Opera Syndicate, 10 July 1905 © ROH Collections Poster design for the ROH 1905 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH Collections. Stage managers' report for the Covent Garden Opera Company's performance of Madama Butterfly (1950), 25 January 1950 © ROH Collections Stage managers' report for the Covent Garden Opera Company's performance of Madama Butterfly (1950), 25 January 1950 © ROH Collections Poster design for Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH Collections. Poster design for Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH Collections. Poster design for Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH Collections. Poster design for 2002/03 season from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Poster design for 2006/07 season from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Poster design for 2003/04 season from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Poster design for 2010/11 season from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Poster Draft Designs from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2009 ROH Production. Poster Draft Designs from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2009 ROH Production. Poster Draft Designs from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2009 ROH Production. Poster Draft Designs from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2009 ROH Production. ROH Collections look after approximately one million images of performances, performers and the Royal Opera House. Contained within the collections of photographers Roger Wood and Donald Southern are many photographs documenting Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden. All these resources vividly re-create the atmosphere of previous productions and provide a valuable insight into the design choices over decades of changing theatre practice. For this reason samples of the material from ROH Collections was used in the Royal Opera House’s interactive digital guide around Design Challenge , helping students to develop skills and knowledge in marketing, production and design. Signed black-and-white photographic print of soprano Emmy Destinn as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly © ROH Collections Madama Butterfly, 1905 © ROH Collections Charles Craig as Lieutenant F.B. Pinkerton and Sena Jurinac as Cio-Cio-San in the 1959 revival of Madama Butterfly (1950) © ROH Collections Sena Jurinac as Cio-Cio-San in the 1959 revival of Madama Butterfly (1950) © ROH Collections Sena Jurinac as Cio-Cio-San in the 1959 revival of Madama Butterfly (1950) © ROH Collections Josephine Veasey as Suzuki and Sena Jurinac as Cio-Cio-San in the 1959 revival of Madama Butterfly (1950) © ROH Collections Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as Cio-Cio-San from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Roger Wood. Kenneth Neate as Lieutenant Pinkerton from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Roger Wood. Set design from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Roger Wood. Set design from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Roger Wood. Fedorovitch costume design for Cio-Cio-San from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Brian Slater. Fedorovitch costume detail for Cio-Cio-San from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Brian Slater. Fedorovitch costume design for Cio-Cio-San from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Brian Slater. Fedorovitch costume design for chorus member from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Brian Slater . Fedorovitch costume design for chorus member from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Brian Slater . Fedorovitch costume design for chorus member from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH, Brian Slater . Act II set design from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Arthur Davies as Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San and Arthur Davies as Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. John Dobson as Goro in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San and Arthur Davies as Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San and Chorus in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San and Miao Qing as Suzuki in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic Frigerio set design for Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Frigerio set design for Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic Catherine Malfitano as Cio-Cio-San and Arthur Davies as Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Miao Qing as Suzuki and Anna Cooper as Kate Pinkerton in Espert’s 1988 premiere production of Madama Butterfly, 1988. The Royal Opera © Zoe Dominic. Set designer, Frigerio's set in Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly, 1992. The Royal Opera © ROH Production. Set designer, Frigerio's set in Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly, 1992. The Royal Opera © ROH Production. Set designer, Frigerio's set in Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly, 1992. The Royal Opera © ROH Production. Yoko Watanabe as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly, 1992. The Royal Opera © ROH Production. Yoko Watanabe as Cio-Cio-San in Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly, 1992. The Royal Opera © ROH Production. Set designer, Frigerio's set in Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly, 1992. The Royal Opera © ROH Production. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San and Dennis O'Neill as Pinkerton in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San and Dennis O'Neill as Pinkerton in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San and Josephine Veasey as Suzuki in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Madama Butterfly, Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San and Francis Egerton as Goro in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Diana Montague as Kate Pinkerton in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San and Dennis O'Neill as Pinkerton in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San and Dennis O'Neill as Pinkerton in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Nada Pobjoy as Cio-CIo-San in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1981. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Yasuko Hayashi as Cio-CIo-San and Neill Shicoff as Pinkerton in Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly, 1978. The Royal Opera © Roger Wood, ROH Collections. Model box for Act I scene from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Helpmann’s 1950 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act I scene from Nuria Espert’s 1988 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act II scene from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act II scene from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act II scene from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Model box for Act II scene from Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madama Butterfly © 2016 ROH. Photo by Ruairi Watson. Signed black-and-white photographic print of composer Giacomo Puccini © ROH Collections ROH Collections contains a wealth of material recording the history of the three theatres that have stood on the Covent Garden site since 1732, and the performances that they have housed. Madama Butterfly runs 20 March–25 April 2017. Tickets are still available. The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 30 April 2017. Find your nearest cinema. The production is a co-production with Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona , and is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Aud Jebsen, Spindrift Al Swaidi and The Maestro's Circle .

Guardian

March 20

Facing the music: Anne Sophie Duprels

The French soprano on the music she loves - from Puccini to Saint-Saëns and Messiaen to WoodkidVinyl or digital?Both, for different reasons. We can access such a variety of styles and recordings thanks to digitalisation and that’s pretty fabulous! But the depth and richness of sound of a vinyl recording will always be better and more interesting and it’s no surprise that vinyl sales recently overtook digital sales. That said, live is my absolute favourite. Nothing can replace the experience of seeing and listening to live music. The emotions of actually sharing the time and space of someone (re)creating music are unique. Continue reading...




Royal Opera House

March 15

From Moscow to Peking via Nuremburg: how opera uses folk music

The cast of Turandot © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2013 Traditional music has always featured in classical works, from ballad opera ’s popular songs to the Croatian tunes in Haydn ’s string quartets. But it was from the 19th century onwards that opera composers developed a particular interest in national and folk music, using it both to explore other cultures and to celebrate their own countries’ traditions. For the 19th-century Russian composers known as the ‘Mighty Handful’ , traditional music was a vital part of the new style of opera they planned to create, celebrating their country’s history and folklore. Musorgsky expresses the Russian people’s loyalty through the popular folksong ‘Slava Bogu’ in Boris Godunov ’s Coronation Scene . In Prince Igor , Borodin quotes a vast array of Russian folk tunes; he also consulted a Hungarian traveller on how to make the opera’s Polovtsian scenes sound appropriately ‘Eastern’. Rimsky-Korsakov meanwhile collected more than a hundred Russian folksongs, mastering their style so well that the original ones he wrote for his operas were sometimes mistaken for authentic traditional songs. Nineteenth-century German composers also explored their country’s popular musical traditions. Wagner ’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg does not contain any authentic German folk music, but numbers such as Hans Sachs’s Act II Cobbling Song and Act III’s chorale (to a text by the real Sachs) pay tribute respectively to German folksong and Lutheran chorales . Wagner went still further in Parsifal , where the traditional ‘Dresden Amen’ is of major musical and dramatic importance . Traditional German culture meant much to him, as it did to his one-time assistant Humperdinck , who celebrated German popular song in his original folksongs for Hänsel und Gretel . In Carmen , Bizet uses traditional music to a different end – not to celebrate his own culture, but to depict a mysterious foreign one, associated almost entirely with the gypsy heroine. Carmen’s opening Habanera (based on a popular 19th-century Spanish song that Bizet wrongly believed to be a folk tune), vibrant Seguidilla and exuberant ‘Danse Bohémienne’ use melodies spiced with chromatic twists and lively Spanish dance rhythms to characterize her as sensual, exotic – and very different from the other characters, who sing in a more conventional operatic style. Puccini went further in Madama Butterfly , using traditional Japanese music – ten songs in all, sourced from a book of Japanese folk music – to depict not only his vulnerable heroine but also her environment . However, his main focus is always on Butterfly, and the conflict between East and West embodied in her ‘marriage’ to Pinkerton. He highlights the couple’s differences from their first appearances: while Pinkerton enters with a forthright, ‘Western’-sounding aria that includes a quote from ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, Butterfly arrives to a delicate setting of the Japanese folksong ‘The Lion of Echigo Province’. As the opera progresses and Butterfly’s situation worsens Japanese music increasingly dominates the score, culminating in Act III’s ritual suicide. Puccini returned to Eastern traditional music some twenty years later with Turandot , sourcing Chinese music from a musical box and a book of traditional songs. In this opera, however, national music is used to create an exotic fairytale ambience rather than depict a personal tragedy. It is also primarily associated with ritual: Turandot arrives in Act I to the Chinese folksong ‘Mo Li Hua’ (Jasmine Flower), while Emperor Altoum makes a grand entrance in Act II to the Ancient Imperial Hymn. The opera composer perhaps most associated with traditional and folk music is Janáček . A dedicated folklorist, he used his studies of the traditional music of Moravia (now the Czech Republic) to create original versions of Moravian folk music for operas such as Jenůfa with its dances and wedding songs, and The Cunning Little Vixen with its rustic animal rituals. Nor did he limit himself to his native country’s music. His two ‘Russian’ operas draw movingly on traditional Slavic music, from the playfully amorous folksongs of the young lovers Varvara and Kudrjáš in Kát’a Kabanová to the exquisite orchestral folksongs expressing the prisoners’ nostalgia for their past lives and the outside world in From the House of the Dead . Janáček’s wonderful operas show what a rich source of operatic inspiration folk music can be, both in the depiction of individual characters and in the creation of vivid environments. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg runs 11–31 March 2017. Tickets are still available. The production is a co-production with National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing , and Opera Australia , and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Dr Genevieve Davies, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Maggie Copus, Peter and Fiona Espenhahn, Malcolm Herring, The Metherell Family, Die Meistersinger Production Syndicate and the Wagner Circle . Madama Butterfly runs 20 March–25 April 2017. Tickets are still available. The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 30 March 2017. Find your nearest cinema. The production is a co-production with Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona , and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Spindrift Al Swaidi, Mrs Philip Kan and the Maestro's Circle . Turandot runs 5–16 July 2017. Tickets go on general sale 28 March 2017.

Royal Opera House

March 15

Watch: Insights into the music, history and staging of Puccini's Madama Butterfly

A ROH Insights event exploring Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier ' s Royal Opera production of Giacomo Puccini ’s Madama Butterfly was livestreamed for free via the Royal Opera House YouTube channel on 14 March 2017. It is now available to watch on-demand. The event, hosted by Head Staff Director at Royal Opera House Amy Lane, offered an in-depth look at Puccini’s heartbreaking opera and its history on stage at Covent Garden. Lane was joined by the star of this year’s revival, Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho . Jaho sings the role of the tragic heroine Cio-Cio-San, the young Japanese bride of dashing American officer Lieutenant Pinkerton, who finds her romantic idyll shattered when he deserts her shortly after their marriage. In addition, journalist Lesley Downer offered a closer look at Japan in the 19th century and the role of the Sadayakko , also known as a Japanese geisha or dancer. The Insights event also included several performance excerpts including the opera’s famous flower duet and 'Un bel di vedremo'. Subscribe to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel for notifications about further live streams: // function onYtEvent(payload) { if (payload.eventType == 'subscribe') { // Add code to handle subscribe event. } else if (payload.eventType == 'unsubscribe') { // Add code to handle unsubscribe event. } if (window.console) { // for debugging only window.console.log('YT event: ', payload); } } // ]]> Madama Butterfly runs 20 March–25 April 2017. Tickets are still available. It is a co-production with Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona and is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Spindrift Al Swaidi, Mrs Philip Kan and The Maestro's Circle. Madama Butterfly will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 30 March 2017. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list .



Giacomo Puccini
(1858 – 1924)

Giacomo Puccini (22 December 1858 - 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire. Some of his arias, such as "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, "Che gelida manina" from La bohème, and "Nessun dorma" from Turandot, have become part of popular culture.



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