|Geraldine Farrar in one of her 95 appearances as Madama Butterfly.|
Momma went to the opera this weekend (without Me!) to see and hear Li Shu-Ying as Madama Butterfly. Sung in Italian with English surtitles, Li brought joy, heartbreak and passion to one of opera’s most iconic parts.
Madama Butterfly is an opera in two or three acts by Giacomo Puccini. Puccini based his opera in part on the 1898 short story Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long, and the 1887 semi-autobiographical novel Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti.
In the opera, a 15-year-old geisha falls in love with American sailor B.F. Pinkerton. Three years later, Butterfly faithfully awaits his return, holding onto her dreams and their child she named Sorrow. When he (finally!) arrives, Butterfly discovers he has married someone else. Her heart shattered, she must find a way to restore her honor.
The opera premiered on Feb. 17, 1904 in Milan, Italy. The first U.S. performance was presented in English on Oct. 15, 1906, in Washington, D.C. at the Columbia Theater.
Momma did hasten to tell me that the Arizona Opera's gift shop was selling steampunk necklaces of nuts, wing-nuts and other hardware strung on cord for $50-70! She told me to "get crackin'" to support my "champagne taste" in clothes.
I don't have the slightest idea what she means.